Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 18 July 2015

Yesterday’s Digest had to be finished in a hurry without proper attention being given to the Transparency page in Daily Post by your editor. It reveals a story of marital transgression, not normally a matter for consideration by this Digest, but here receiving attention because it appears to involve complicity on the part of a police officer and an immigration officer and the issuance of a second passport to the wife of a civil servant. This passport, it seems, has enabled the wife to leave her family and Vanuatu and live elsewhere. The story has also achieved prominence on Yumi Toktok Stret.

Another story missed earlier in the week was that of PM Kilman warning politicians that police can investigate them if he, the PM, receives reports they have influenced other politicians. This was in Vila Times at the start of the week which said Radio Vanuatu reported Kilman as saying that it is an offence to influence another person. The story continues with a report of Government back-benchers instigating another motion of no confidence against the present PM.

Today’s Daily Post headlines lower election costs for the Luganville Municipality election (for which Radio Vanuatu advises today is the last day of campaigning). The lower costs when compared to the same exercise of democracy in Port Vila, are due to one vote rather than two (as in the capital) in order to ensure more women on the council. The Luganville wards each have a seat reserved for a woman (scoring the highest vote) regardless of whether that ward’s seat has been won already by a woman.

Post reveals a confrontation between Phil Manhire, Bukura resident, and the men working for the Wong of the much detested building site at the Mele cemetry corner. Manhire was attempting to photograph the ugly construction, but a dozen men man-handled him and forced him against the wall. He was not seriously injured.

Both the former Cultural Centre Director and former legally appointed President of the Vanuatu National Cultural Council deplore political interventions continuing at the Cultural Centre where the new Board meets every day and seems to be running the centre, even though this position has been awarded by that Board to the person occupying the First Political Advisor position in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Daily Post also mentions the suspension of veteran media exponent Ambong Thompson, head of the audio-viual department of the Cultural Centre.

The Independent has Acting Police Commissioner Aru Maralau deploring previous governments’ involvement in police matters causing security to fail. The same writer has Acting Police Commissioner Job Esau required to re-instate officers affected by the conspiracy case because the Public Prosecutor has entered a Nolle Prosequi in the matter. It would be nice to know who is the Acting Police Commissioner. But, meantimes, the Amended Police Act passed a month ago by Parliament has yet to be gazetted, the Indy says. This is the Act which would enable a foreign police commissioner which, apparently, like many in the public talk-back radio tells us, Parliament thought a good idea.

The Independent today leads with MP Robert Bohn claiming the decision of the Reserve Bank not to enable the take over of Westpac operations by Bank South Pacific will mean village people denied lower rates for their loans. It seems these are promised by BSP.