Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 2 May 2015

With tomorrow being World Press Freedom Day, the Government blames the Vanuatu Independent for being far too free with what that paper is saying as regards cyclone Pam issues, actually distorting the truth. Indeed China is blamed for delivering relief which was nothing to do with that country. The full government comment is carried in the Daily Post, but only a 5-line apology in the Independent. That paper does, however carry a worthwhile piece on accurate reporting.

Yesterday’s Post carried the story of the destruction of the Nagol tower at Lonoror airport one complicated step further. Custom ownership of the Nagol is the basis for the dispute rather than anything boundary related. There is allegedly documentary evidence relating to ownership going back to chiefly council meetings of 2006. The dispute is, in the opinion of your blog editor, likely to curtail significantly Pentecost land diving for some time to come. This will certainly be good for the un-prolific life-saving vines used by the divers to arrest their drop at the last possible moment. Increasing practice of the customary spectacular has recently been suggested as likely with the possible arrival of big cruise liners in the nearest harbour.

Daily Post yesterday reported that the next inter-sessional meeting of the PACER-Plus trade negotiators from the 14 countries of the region starts Tuesday at the Warwick Le Lagon centre. Regional labour mobility, development and economic co-operation, trade in goods, trade in services, and investment are all on the agenda.

The PACER-Plus meeting comes in for significant criticism from civil society organisations in today’s Post. In a half-page letter to the Editor they recommend suspension of the negotiations until there has been informed and comprehensive dialogue with civil society to establish if there is a popular mandate for the negotiations.

The Independent and Radio Vanuatu today both add more information concerning the Auditor General’s plea for his office to be more independent of government. The European Union would require more legislation to ensure an appropriate separation of powers in this regard. They would then fund alterations to the law it is suggested. Auditor General John Path spoke to the press in the matter.

Yesterday, the Labour Day holiday, Daily Post reported 97 employees laid off in manufacturing positions and 70 in tourism following cyclone Pam.The Department of Labour announced it is organising a National Dialogue on Socially Responsible Restructuring during Crisis, with employer and employee representatives, starting Thursday. These deliberations will be assisted by the ILO.

Changes to the laws concerning kava will protect people from two-day kava, VBTC reports today. Both overseas and local markets will be assisted. Abel Tabisue, private secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, explained changes intended to be voted in the parliamentary meeting later this month.