Vanuatu daily news digest | 1 November 2014

The Sandalwood City project has prominence in both Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post bulletins today. The project encourages town gardeners to plant sandalwood wherever they can find a space. Port Vila MP Natapei is shown planting a tree.

The European Union has had a Dialogue Team here for dialogue with Foreign Minister Kilman and a senior government delegation. Asked what the outcome was, Daily Post learned, and I quote: "The end result is a better understanding of the mutual issues, messages, work ahead, the framing of the assistance by political contacts and we will have some right choices and conclusions to which both sides should subscribe on which we will inform our member states, and which the Government of Vanuatu should incorporate and implement their future work." So there you have it. Just what the rural majority really need. Can we hope the visitors paid for the visit of Roy Mickey Joy mentioned alongside?

Daily Post has the Appeal Court (hearings starting Monday) ready to list the Carcasses appeal against the Supreme Court dismissal of the Opposition judicial request for a sitting of Parliament. This was for a sitting early September to vote a motion of no confidence in the Natuman Government. No reason was ever suggested to the media for such a motion. The assumption is that its aim was to change the government.

Carcasses gets headlines in Yumi Toktok Stret saying he is offering a million vatu to Opposition MPs if they will sign an agreement to keep him as Opposition Leader and then Prime Minister when they take government. YTS suggests he must have left something behind in the PM’s Office!!! They add that as long as he behaves like this the Opposition will never get government again. They tell MP Tony Wright to stop Carcasses dreaming.

Post has news of backbenchers driving round in G-plated cars. One apparently was recently on the front page of Post saying a prominent Opposition MP was urging him to sign a motion of no trust. Another, on return from Europe, was alleging the Opposition should stop spreading lies that he signed a motion of no trust.

Daily Post has the big news: a 6 Star Hotel / Casino complex for Iririki. The signing took place between Bernie Millman of the Grand and Jewel Casino and Iririki Island Resort and Finance Minister Simelum. Millions of dollars are said to be the likely benefit to government when the VIP gamblers and resort guests start arriving. Vanuatu will become a leader of South Pacific tourism. Millman told DP’s Jane Joshua they have a ten-year licence. Work will start next year and may cause the closure of Iririki for a few months to make available a gated and secure 32-suite complex for all the visiting VIPs of the Jewel Casino.

The good news of the casino for Ifirans and residents may well be the ultimately necessary removal – salvaged – or dumping as a dive wreck of the Lycianda. Iririki and Jewel’s VIPs will not want diesel fuel slicks everywhere when they go for their early morning dips in the harbour. Maybe the casino’s coming is partly responsible for The Independent saying two local companies are offering to remove the vessel for no cost to government.

Other big page one Post news concerns the Interchange success in winning the contract for the extension of the Cable Network from here to the Solomons and PNG. From Madang the cable will be largely on land and go west to Indonesia and Asia. CEO Simon Fletcher said the project costs USD 72 million and connects with international hubs in Sydney and the US via the existing Southern Cross submarine cable system.

From Vanuatu Times we learn that government officials are saying that the Vanuatu International Shipping Registry will be put out for tender if a compromise cannot be reached between the government and Vanuatu shipping registry run by MP Robert Bohn. Commentators say there is a conflict of interest for Bohn as a politician.

Douglas Patterson has interesting observations of land and population in The Independent, following his address to the Emerging Pacific Leaders’ Dialogue. And Merelyn Tahi strongly appeals to government for more efforts to prevent violence against women in Post’s Letters page.

Have a good weekend!