Vanuatu daily news digest | 20 January 2015

There was good news to begin the day. In connection with Sea-Bed Mining: no digging of seabed happening yet says Acting Commissioner of Mines Brooks Rakau in Daily Post today. Despite there being licences already issued to two major companies (Nautilus and Bismarck), Rakau insisted on going on record to state "there is no digging yet." Following the large public consultation last year, a National Offshore Minerals Committee has been formed and there will be consultations with communities in the provinces. It will all end up in a Seabed Mining Policy required under existing legislation.

The good news continues with the West Papuan group, the United Liberation Moveent for West Papua will apply to join the MSG next month. The spokesman for the ULM coalition recently formed to push for Independence from Indonesia, Benny Wenda, has told RNZI a massive publicity campaign will follow to support the bid.

And a new Vanuatu newspaper has emerged, the first Chinese – English paper called Vila Times. It’s a weekly. The cover page has congratulatory messages from PM Natuman and Ambassador Bohua. The paper is printed at Daily Post.

VBTC News this morning makes it clear that in changing the election petition legislation the Government is seeking to change the time-frame under which the courts could hear a petition. The adjudication would have to happen within six months of the petition being required. Government work has been seriously hampered by such cases taking up to two years to be decided.

Radio Vanuatu also reported the community of about 100 at Nambtri Nabanga having good communication with the owner of the lease on which they have been living, Rene Ah Pow. Arrangements are being made for their re-location from Nambatri to East Efate. Chief Esau says they are happy with the plans for their re-location in a month.