Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 28 August 2015

Some of the things you missed whilst the Digest was away …

The Port Vila By-election will be held on October 15 at the usual 12 polling stations. This is the election to find a successor to the late Edward Nipake Natapei, MP.

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, John Taleo, has participated in a meeting in the Dominican Republic to discuss the integrity of elections in various countries, including Pacific Island States. And Transparency Vanuatu’s (TIV’s) member Evelyne Toa has attended a UN Convention Against Corruption meeting in Tonga as President of the media association, MAV.

Radio Vanuatu News yesterday reported the decisions of Justice Sey in the Bribery Case. A fuller report is given in today’s Daily Post. The Supreme Court trial will proceed from 2 September. The Digest gave a summary of yesterday’s hearing yesterday.

Wednesday Daily Post reported the Fishermen’s Association electing a new president to replace Remy Kunuan. The new head of their organisation is James Terry, and he is assisted by Maurice Kelly. The former president was accused of lack of cooperation with the members.

The design of the billion vatu Malapoa College renewal project was completed a week ago after discussions in China between a Vanuatu ministerial delegation and the China Northeast Architectural Institute Co Ltd. The project embraces 24 classrooms and eight science laboratories. (Daily Post)

Daily Post on Tuesday also had the Prime Minister on his visit to India encouraging Indian businessmen to invest in Vanuatu. Interest by potential Indian investors was subsequently expressed in the fields of tourism, hospitality, agriculture, education and health.

The United Nations Development Programme is presently providing materials for 6 community centres in the Shepherds, Post reports. The work will be undertaken by local builders with support from PWD, says Post.

All media have drawn attention to the Vanuatu National Trade Fair taking place at the Seafront. As well as locally produced goods, local performers will demonstrate their talents.

The Agriculture Minister, Christopher Emilee, has promised a science laboratory building at the Vanuatu Agricultural College at Chapuis, Santo. The Training Centre’s building will be transformed for the purpose, Daily Post reports today.

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The reason for the short absence of the Digest was an allegation from the Prime Minister’s Office that I had incorrectly reported. I have since apologized to Prime Minister Kilman as follows:

Dear Hon. Prime Minister,

I wish to sincerely apologise for failure to check the alleged facts to which the media statement issuing from your PRO yesterday clearly refers. My apology would simply add that the Vanuatu Daily News Digest is just a free of charge, online summary of the issues being reported in electronic, print and social media for the benefit of ni-Vanuatu overseas – students and RSE workers, along with former residents. And I always quote my sources so that readers of my newsblog can check for themselves if any item might matter particularly to them. I do not have the resources to be checking all news items, but long experience in and of Vanuatu journalism has generally reliably informed me when doubtful matters arise.

I sincerely apologise in seeming to be showing a particular political standpoint. However it cannot be denied that in most countries the Fourth Estate tends to prefer reporting what the Opposition has to say on the performance of any Government, more than what the Government is actually doing, which is generally just getting on with the business of running the country. I did not myself seek to demean you in the granting of the citizenship: I was simply reporting what the Opposition said. And as regards the alleged COM discussion of deportation of a judge, I knew, as did most of the population, that you were not here at the time. You were in India.

Hon. Prime Minister, herewith you have my apology, sincerely given,

Bob Makin