Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 16 November 2015

There is good news in the capital today. It is RAIN. It is slightly better than brief showers, which anyway don’t generally come even when forecast, but pavements were generally WET this morning: a blessing.

A number of important news items have been missed owing to your Digest reporter wanting to cover the bribery Appeals Court hearings himself. Importantly, VBTC staff are back on duty after their sit-in and strike because the VBTC failed to pay salaries. They were back on duty on Friday.

The Port Vila Urban Development Project is targeting areas such as Seaside for an improvement to health and hygiene facilities. World Vision and Wan Smolbag are assisting.

Saturday’s Independent reports Vanuatu having the sixth highest prevalence of diabetes globally. This is truly alarming. It is only surpassed by other island countries. Poor diet is blamed in countries where the traditional diet is nothing short of excellent, but these days largely ignored. More than 21% of the adult population is affected, more women than men, and persons mostly in their 40s and 50s,.

A water tariff reduction for the capital is on hold pending a judicial review. This will be between Unelco and the URA and government. It is Judicial Review No. 30 of 2015.

Australia is giving VT 80 million worth of road making equipment in provinces where lack of maintenance has brought about deterioration. Ambae, Tanna, Malekula and Pentecost will be the main areas of benefit. The Digest will continue to criticize improper maintenance of government property whether it be with buildings or equipment.

The new Minister of Public Works, Don Ken, has suspended his acting DG, Director and another officer saying he was not pleased with the way in which road works were being carried out in the provinces.

Today in Daily Post the same minister is reported finding two steel bridges intended to replace wooden bridges on Santo being demolished and used as part of the new Luganville wharf project. He claims wrong decisions were taken in the capital. The bridges are worth VT 260 million.

The same minister, and again in Post, is today meeting with Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) staff to listen to their grievances.

And Daily Post today reports a hideous balance of trade deficit for August. Imports for 3.94 billion vatu massively exceeded exports of VT 326 million. The good news start today cuts to bad news to end!

Oh, the Pipite premature pardons are in the Appeals Court today. No comment. Yet.