Vanuatu daily news Digest | 6 February 2015

The big news today belongs exclusively to Daily Post. The Capital Investment Immigration Programme – CIIP – is suspended. The suspension was authorised by Hong Kong. It will mean a shortfall in government revenue of VT 900 million. Prime Minister Natuman revealed this information yesterday at the two-day government Leaders’ Retreat at Iririki. As a creature of the previous Carcasses Government, the final point of CIIP was the enactment of aspects of visa control by Internal Affairs Minister Crowby in August 2013. The Programme was intended to enable citizenship after a shorter delay than originally. It never seemed to have public approval and will not be lamented. The Leaders’ Retreat has focussed on "Progressing towards a Vibrant and Stable Vanuatu" and the Government caucus is this afternoon deciding on the outcomes of the meeting.

The West Papua United Liberation Movement has re-submitted its application for Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) membership. ULMWP spokesman Benny Wenda, Post reported, added to Secretary General Mote’s remarks as the application was handed over on the steps of the MSG Headquarters at Independence Park: "We believe this is an urgent matter to resolve because of the ongoing atrocities committed by the Indonesian military and the programme of transmigration which is accelerating."

Post also reports on its Transparency page today that anti-corruption is central to the Vanua’aku Pati re-unification moves. Party CEO Avio Roberts said that after the 2016 elections the parties VP, NUP, MPP and PPP will re-unite as one party and then tackle the corruption issue. TIV has urged the re-unification committee to draft legislation which will ensure all political parties disclose income and expenditure. Also TIV is pressing them to review and strengthen the Leadership Code and Ombudsman Act and establish a Right to Information (RTI) Bill. Nagriamel has expressed an interest in a closer working relationship with the Vanua’aku Pati. An RTI Bill is in the process of being drafted says RTI Chairman John Ezra.

The deputy head of the United States Mission in Port Moresby, Melanie H. Higgins, has praised volunteer and politician Gerald Tamau for his role in ensuring men as well as women successfully empower women to promote gender equality. Tamau also impressed the women on his recent US tour of young leaders from many countries.

Yesterday’s Post revealed the closure of the Freshwota market as a result of divisions within the community following the announcement of the transfer of the Freshwota Park to the Vanuatu National Housing Corporation. Radio Vanuatu News this morning also highlighted the extent of the debt of many Freshwota people to the National Housing Corporation for some 200 land titles.

And yesterday Post also further advised that the New Zealand prosecutor Christopher Griggs was terminated because there was no evidence as to his appointment and "financing" of his services in the office of the Acting Public Prosecutor.