Vanuatu daily news digest | 1 October 2014

Pacnews reports Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman focusing on the unique development challenges there are for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in addressing the United Nations General Assembly this week. "For some Pacific States, we are facing existential threats and we cannot address the issue of sustainable development alone, unless climate change challenges are addressed seriously by the international community," said Natuman. The international community needs to act now and fast" to ensure that "we steer clear of the dangerous path of the current carbon pollution trajectory," he added. Vanuatu is scheduled to graduate from Least Developed Country status in December 2017. Natuman said "We appreciate the UN’s focus on a smooth transition for graduating countries but we also urge the UN not to divert from the real question, the question of the way we will be treated as SIDS after graduation," he said. He added that future development must address ocean management, energy security and gender equity. And he also highlighted the UN’s responsibility to "bring to closure" its "unfinished business" – the de-colonisation of neighbouring New Caledonia.

The "unfinished business" of the would-be smelters on Cape de Queiros at Santo is taken up by Professor Sue Farran in the UK who writes that "one reason the company may be keen to relocate their smelting operation is the tightening up of environmental protection and more stringent national policy in New Caledonia. "Let’s hope," she says, "Vanuatu is not seen as a walkover option." Sadly it seems to be thought of exactly in that manner.

The following cartoon concerning the Big Bay smelter seems regionally much appreciated…

… and here is another cartoon issued when Trinidad was about to start smelting …

Daily Post starts the day today with former Police Commissioner Joshua Bong labeling the allegations against him as a joke and lie. He joins his erstwhile colleague Acting Commissioner Aru Maralau in discussing the Police mutiny issue. Maralau says all investigations relating to the alleged mutiny case of 2012 have been suspended. One wonders why, and also why "the mutiny case of 2012 is no longer of public interest." Suspended Commissioner Caulton does not rush to the press with his views in this matter, waiting for the judicial inquiry, and surely this is the time (and place) for all such questions to be resolved. Daily Post adds that the Acting Police Commissioner (Maralau) gave his comments after recent media reports that a foreign prosecutor had been brought in to prosecute the alleged mutiny case of former Commissioner Bong, at which Bong is said to have said he was "dismayed and disgusted to have read about the Public Prosecutor’s office bringing in a foreign prosecutor." This matter needs serious governmental attention quickly when so many viewpoints are being addressed by persons possibly implicated in the events of 2012.

A letter in Post from The Secretary General of the Citizenship Commission points out that Gilles Daniel had indeed acquired his Vanuatu citizenship by fraudulent means, but that revocation of it had not rendered him stateless: he still has his French citizenship.