Vanuatu daily news digest | 16 September 2014

Radio Vanuatu spends a lot of time and money advertising for a new General Manager for VBTC. The half page Daily Post ads on Saturdays cannot be cheap and the several times daily readings of the ad on Radio Vanuatu take many minutes of airtime, and if all of this is going ahead until 31 October when applications close, it is certain we will all know they want a new GM.

Anyway, they are often being pipped at the news post by that Daily Post, as they are today with news of the suspension of the Commissioner of Police, albeit on full pay. The news is truly surprising and there will be an inquiry. Meanwhile the acting commissioner is Aru Maralau. Arthur Caulton said there was no valid reason for his suspension.

Radio Vanuatu Lunchtime News today, however, also pointed out the suspension by the Vanuatu National Cultural Council of the Cultural Centre (VKS) Director, Marcelin Abong. Grounds for the suspension have not been given. The talented and extremely capable former VBTC Programme Director Ambong Thompson, who has been managing the VKS audio-visual section for many years, takes over the acting directorship.

Taking its news from all daily media, this vanuatudaily news digest is always beaten by everyone (and regrets for no Vanuatu Daily News Digest bulletin yesterday), but news which has not made it to these pages so far concerns that which was on page 1 in Saturday’s Daily Post: Vanuatu Financial Services Commission – VFSC position used to promote online raffle. Property at Santo is offered as prizes in a lottery in which the deputy commissioner of the VFSC is said to be Vanuatu Registry Services (VRS), operating the new product of the VFSC – the Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP). VRS is said to be sponsoring the lottery, or raffle they call it, through EDC Vanuatu Limited, a Port Vila based company. What other uses will be found for tax havens? And by whom? This one is now well-known in Vanuatu. So much for land going back to the custom owners.

Saturday’s Post also carried news of the revocation of the citizenship of Yao Ruhia who acquired his citizenship after being resident for only seven years, insufficient to legally take Vanuatu nationality. He is the owner of Yao Investments building opposite Au Bon Marché at Nambatu and has held certain posts in Vanuatu’s embassy in Beijing. He calls on everyone to obey the laws of Vanuatu.

Today is Penama Day – happy Penama Day. The eighth President of the Republic will be elected tomorrow. Chief Daniel Molisa of Santo calls on the Electoral College to appoint a man Santo to the top post. Shefa has held the post for 19 years, Tafea for 10 years, Penama 5 years and Malampa for just 2 months (prior to a disqualification). Sanma and Torba have not yet had the chance to hold the presidency, Molisa and VBTC point out. Daily Post yesterday pointed out the prominence of Ex-MPs in the presidential stakes.

Saturday’s Post had the PM launching the biggest traditionally built canoe since Independence. The Tamarei Aneityum took a month to build and is nearly 12 metres long, 60 cm wide. The sail is hoisted to 8 metres and Post carried an excellent photo. Its launch is in keeping with the "back to our roots" philosophy of the present government, especially PM Natuman and the VP.

Today’s Daily Post has Canberra-based Rex Rumakiek the Acting Chairman of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL). He was here for the funeral of the late Dr John Ondawame, and told Godwin Ligo "We appreciate the Vanuatu stand in support of the West Papuan struggle for for political freedom displayed by Vanuatu." And he will soon return to this country in which he is well-known.

Last weekend also marked the 50th anniversary of the New Hebrides Airways’ first Milk Run to Santo via the Shepherds (Tongoa), Pentecost and Ambae, and Daily Post carried the story and a photo of those on the first flight which, unfortunately, had to be abandoned at Tongoa after something of a crash landing on the first usage of the grass strip. Joe Mulders’ complete account of the first ill-fated flight on which he was a passenger will appear in this Digest soon.