Vanuatu daily news digest | 20 October 2014

The news today begins with two warnings spelled out by VBTC News. Vanuatu should prepare for two tropical cyclones this coming cyclone season. The Department of Meteorology and Geohazards released the prediction on Friday. Some eight cyclones of category 3 and above are predicted for the entire Pacific region. The prediction will be regularly updated.

The virus Ebola is the other warning from government. The WHO has advised that because of the limited resources of Small Island Developing States, health professionals here should soon be trained in the management of Ebola, and appropriate protective uniforms obtained for Health and Medical staff to use if the virus arrives in Vanuatu.

The Minister for Youth and Sport has terminated work on the demolition of the existing Korman stadium to make way for a new complex at that location for the 2017 Mini-Games. Minister Don Ken had asked for reports on the finances to date but not been offered them by the committee concerned (Daily Post today). Korman Stadium is another public building which enjoyed generous Chinese aid funding but never had any worthwhile maintenance from the Vanuatu Government: thus the need for its demolition for another such structure. The public needs to be advised immediately that PWD has funds in place for new Korman maintenance along with Convention Centre maintenance.

And today in Post, Vanuatu Trade Development Limited’s Mr David Mak is proposing to build new airport cities in Vanuatu. He is mentioned by the Straits Times as "clearing the air". The tobacco company executive did not think any lawsuits would be necessary.

A new TVET Centre has opened in Torba. Education Minister Loughman, Australian High Commissioner Bruer and SG of the Province Ketty Napwatt were on hand for the opening. High Commissioner Bruer believes the TVET Centre model will enable owner / manager "life changing stories" for increasing skills and providing development.

And now some important stories from last week, missed from this bulletin until now …

Saturday’s Post and the Independent drew attention to the big-time gambling moving in with Amax International Holdings. Now that the Chinese are preventing Macau from offering the kind of corruption-littered services that city and tourist mecca has previously done, Junkets for off-shire on-line gambling now move to places like Vanuatu and North Cyprus. The Junket provides tickets for the gamblers of substance to get away from China and arrive in a place like Vanuatu for a break of online / offshore gambling in which mega-bucks will be won and lost.

The support the Asian Development Bank is giving the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission in the creation of its online library of registries will be appreciated by both government and the private sector. An MoU on the subject was signed last week and will give round-the-clock access to company details when they are correctly lodged with the VFSC. Australia and New Zealand are assisting ADB. The project will mean lowered cots for companies and increasing transparency.

Daily Post also reported the formation of a Virgin Coconut Oil Association. It will help promote Vanuatu coconut oil and ensure the market is reserved for ni-Vanuatu. Neil Netaf and Albert Williams are the first Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

The Transparency page last week (Friday) raises the now-becoming-perennial questions concerning the management of cases by the Public Prosecutor. TIV urges the government to consider the issues involved and ensure the Public Prosecutions Office is operating effectively.

Friday in Post "Frustrated members" of the VNPF raised a number of questions concerning the management of the Fund. Everyone is interested in making VNPF a success and such concerns must be heeded by management. The weekly good news accounts of what’s going on in the VNPF are insufficient to put aside the main worries concerning investments into which the Fund has bought. Not mentioned by the "Frustrated members", but by me here … the purchase of Club Vanuatu for $3 million. What is to become of it?

Climate Change was the subject of last week’s demonstration which saw the Deputy Prime Minister, making an environmental point, jump into the sea at the Seafront. More particularly the march was a call for the developed countries to reduce emissions of CO2 – carbon dioxide. As DG Napat said "It is about our very survival."