Vanuatu daily news digest | 11 February 2014

The funeral service of the former Vanuatu Head of State, Jean-Marie Leye Lenalcau Manatawai, was delayed from yesterday until today. Radio Vanuatu this morning reminded listeners of the kidnap of Leye to Malekula whilst in office during a pay dispute of the VMF. PM Natuman recalled to mourners, as people passed the body at the Tut blong Pig at Parliament yesterday, Leye’s ability to use parables, especially that of the banyan tree. Daily Post reports Natuman calling Leye "a man of wisdom and principle" who never talked about people behind their backs but would certainly "convey his honest and best opinions to others." Former Cultural Centre Director Kirk Huffman has also recorded Leye’s ability to use the parable, as does this writer when Leye spoke of the influence of money on politicians as if it would "fall down like the fruit of the namambe." From 1975 to 1977 Jean-Marie Leye was a member of the Representative Assembly of the New Hebrides and from 1980 to 1983 he was a Member of Parliament for the Union of Moderate Parties. In the ‘Seventies he was on the Advisory Council and he also served in the Port Vila Council of Chiefs.

Daily Post today gives us the good news of government intending to acquire the land of the Norsup airfield to enable its continuance for its public purpose of being the principal airport of the island of Malekula and Malampa Province. The lessors will be Chief William David and Collen Taur as trustees for the David Apia family. Other claims would need to be lodged by 5 January and on 7 January there will be a public hearing relating to the land in question.

Radio Vanuatu yesterday reported the new merdeka support groups of West Papua as ULMWP agreeing to apply for Melanesian Spearhead Group membership at the next MSG meeting in June in Honiara. The umbrella group formed on Saturday in Port Vila now brings into reconciliation and collaboration the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB), National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and the National Parliament of West Papua (NPWP). They are proudly brought together as the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. Remember it: ULMWP.

There is good news for parents of school children this week with 94 student teachers graduating as new curriculum requirements have arrived for schools. Post reports great applause as Jack Matariki, VITE Principal, announced more women graduates than men. Ministerial policy will be looking to have teachers posted to their own provinces.

Post also reports today 425 graduating from the institute of technology, VIT. More than a hundred of them won certificates in the Hospitality and Tourism Leisure Training Center.

There is a lot in the Asian Development Bank’s December issue of the Pacific Economic Monitor. The 2015 Vanuatu Budget represents to them the fourth budget deficit in the past 5 years. However, government disputes this, according to Post.

Vanuatu has achieved a publishing coup with the production of Pacific Island Living – Fiji edition. Editor Tiffany Carroll points out they already have editions for the Solomons, Nauru and Australia as well as, of course, Vanuatu. Publisher Craig Osment: "we’re working with Tourism Fiji and hoping to give Vanuatu terrific exposure over there as well."

The activity of the two volcanoes on Ambrym has gone down. The alert level dropped from 2 to 1 just as the 101st anniversary of Benbow’s major eruption of 1913 arrived. However communities are advised to continue to follow the instructions they have been given by Geo-Hazards Department.