Vanuatu daily news digest | 14 October 2014

We have the Third Emerging Pacific Leaders’ Dialogue (EPLD) meeting in the Pacific from 16 – 28 of this month. 16 October sees the Emerging Leaders coming together in Nouméa for visits to various countries from 19 – 24 October. They will be looking at the different governance systems of the countries visited and be mindful of long-term development needs and the countries’ stability. 27 – 28 October they will be in Vanuatu, VBTC News reports today, and on those dates they will see their report presented and the official closing of the Dialogue. Princess Anne of the UK, and Port Vila MP and Vanuatu Parliamentary Secretary Edward Natapei, will share the closing presentation.

Hard on the heels of Princess Anne and the Emerging Pacific Leaders we have the visit of the African, Pacific and Caribbean Parliamentary-type leaders and their European homologues for the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. This is to be held just a month later from 26 November to 3 December. All these Leaders will at least see the amazing construction requested by an earlier Vanuatu government and being achieved by the Chinese builders to house what might be further dialogues, assemblies, consultations or fora. At least we can hope the huge holes will be filled in. Daily Post today reports Speaker Boedoro traveling to attend a meeting today in Brussels of the ACP Secretariat with a view to try to convince ACP and EU members that the Joint Parliamentary Assembly planned for Port Vila for 26 November to 3 December actually proceed when there seem to be reasons for this not happening (one of which might be Ebola?).

Wendy Him Ford brought another allegation against Deep Sea Mining (DSM) to the consultation which was taking place in Port Vila last week. These concerned the possible effects of DSM on volcanic activity and potential for increased seismic and tsunami events for which she has scientific evidence. An EIA of the International Sea Bed Authority was also brought to the forum’s attention by Him Ford. Her additions to the discussion were raised by VBTC News this morning.

Daily Post leads with MP Robert Bohn appealing for a government audit of the Shipping Registry. With Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited being run by accountants, it is hard to see what this might prove other than that they keep the books very well. The beginnings of the Vanuatu flag-of-convenience operations are also given space in today’s Post.

Another maritime matter was also on Post page one and announced there will be an investigation of the tragedy, the sinking of the LC MGY between Hat Island and Devil’s Point with the loss of five lives on 11 July. Richard Coleman (Vanuatu Maritime College CEO) will be leader of a team of maritime professionals.

Post also has an excellent photo of an accident involving an Air Vanuatu Islander on take-off at Emae last week. The plane apparently ploughed into bush at the end of the runway. There was no injury to any on board and Air Van and the Civil Aviation Authority have investigated. Unfortunately the small colour printing on the non-headlined photo is likely to be missed by readers.

The Reserve Bank has directed the Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) management to temporarily cease land purchase in Erangorango (on the north-eastern end of the airport), at least until reviews required by the Bank are completed.

This news service strongly feels the ACP and EU Parliamentary Leaders and the Emerging Pacific Leaders and Princess Anne should all be quizzed on whether the planned International Convention Centre really is needed as such or whether it mightn’t be a good idea to convert the structure into new government offices, with a statement from MPs required on their election to promise adequate maintenance funds for the building or they lose their seat.