Vanuatu daily news digest | 25 September 2014Posted: September 25, 2014
Radio Vanuatu News today at mid-day has the manager of a Chinese / New Caledonian smelter stating that the company has government permission to start nickel smelting at Santo. The processing place is claimed to be not far from Port Olry on Cape Queiros. The Minister of Lands, however, has said that he is not aware of the project, nor has it been approved. Certainly there would need to be an Environment Impact Assessment for such an industry as the air, sea and land pollution could be colossal, as has already been established in and around the smelters in New Caledonia. It is surely for reasons of shipping the mined nickel off-shore from New Caledonia, and locating the pollution much further away, that the smelting industry is envisaged for Caledonian nickel at Santo. Nickel has never been mined here. One wonders which government agreed to this proposal. And another question is whether the EDC Capital’s "exclusive residential resort community’, only 25 km away at Turtle Bay, is aware of the pollution threat to their island paradise breezes. These raffle prize allotments (presumably lease only rather than land sale which does not exist here) were revealed last weekend in Daily Post. The pre-development land was valued at nine million US dollars in EDC Capital publicity. One wonders which government agreed to this use of real estate as lottery prizes.
The francophone community in Port Vila has been enthusiastic in setting up a means for having used batteries disposed of harmlessly and without contributing to harmless chemicals in the soil and surf. The Alliance Française and French Community ADFE is reported by Daily Post to be establishing "battery return" containers for old torchlight and radio batteries at leading shopping centres. They will be sent to Singapore for correct disposal.
In Daily Post today the CIIP writer, JT Earl, questions comments from the VFSC Commissioner George Andrews concerning the Vantu Bank as "the Vanuatu financial institution" responsible for receiving all the deposits from the CIIP programme which PM Natuman wants to review to ensure government receives maximum proceeds. These CIIP funds all go to the mysterious Vantu Bank. JT Earl questions the VFSC Commissioner as to when the government awarded the tender to VRS to market CIIP.
Radio Vanuatu News had Agriculture Minister Tosul seeking assistance from the German scientist who has previously studied the kavas of Vanuatu for this country. Agriculture wins the budget stakes for the national budget next year and Minister Tosul has field officers ready to ensure growers plant the right varieties for their island.
Prime Minister Natuman has taken a strong stand on protecting the young "on line" at the Capacity Building Workshop on Child On-line Protection at a Commonwealth meeting and workshop in the capital. A hundred participants have come for the conference from around the island countries, Daily Post revealed yesterday.
Dates for the West Papua forum of pro-Independence movements have been changed to November 30 to December 4. This is to allow more time for achievement of travel documentation.
In Daily Post today the Asian Development Bank is counseling reform of Vanuatu’s State-Owned Enterprises which have shown a serious decline in revenue production, becoming a significant drain on the economy. ADB is supporting reform of eight Commercial Government Business Enterprises which in the years 2008 – 2012 saw government equity fall by 96%.
Justice Harrop has expressed concern at the poor performance of Prosecutions personnel, whether from State or Public Prosecutions. A particular case of sexual intercourse without consent had to be dismissed twice because the State Prosecutor had failed to appear on the two occasions for which it was listed. Judge Harrop is drawing the attention of the ministries concerned to this failure of Prosecutions.