Vanuatu daily news Digest | 10 February 2015

The leading news items today are about the government’s decision concerning Freswota. What is known as the Council of the Indigenous People of Freshwota has announced that it will work in line with the decision of the Council of Ministers (CoM). At the same time there is a group opposed to such an idea. The Indigenous Council is ready to negotiate with the government through the Vanuatu National Housing Corporation to defend the interests of the Freshwota community. Chairman Rarua says the council he leads brings together elected representatives from different groupings of chiefs, women, inter-church, youth and development alliances. It was elected nearly a year ago. The Council will not work against the decision of the Council of Ministers (CoM). It will negotiate with the National Housing Corporation (VNHC) to have the market place resume operations. It will similarly enter discussions over Mautoa Park. The Council plans to provide a temporary market place for use by the market mamas whilst the ongoing use of the market house and stage are being further discussed, Radio Vanuatu News reported today.

Another group of youth and residents of Freshwota came together last weekend and put together a petition expressing concerns over the management take-over of the Freshwota market house and Mautoa Park stage, VBTC also reported. The President of a youth committee, Johnety Jerety, says the petition is to review the Council of Ministers’ decision as regards the market and park because the people were not aware of ministerial plans in advance of the National Housing Corporation take-over. They say they feel there should have been community awareness before the CoM decision. They said their petition has over a hundred thousand signatures, which figure was repeated in the lunch time news today and which is, of course impossible.

Threats to root crops like taro were under discussion by international scientists from the Pacific, Asia and Central America at Santo last week. Climate change was one particular area of concern. Dr Vincent Lebot, of the French research institute CIRAD, pointed out how a local group had developed hybrid varieties of taro to assist farmers. Radio Vanuatu News reported the conference today as well as the WHO country representative counselling more consumption of healthful local root and food crops, rather than highly processed imports.

Daily Post carries news today of the continuing closure of Ulei Junior Secondary School following alleged mis-use of funds. The Shefa Education Office is directing blame towards a former principal.

Post also records the formation of the 19th and last of the area councils for the province of Shefa. It is at Eratap.