Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 24 December 2015

Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the United Nations Odo Tevi has been elected to chair one of the UN meetings of the Commission on Disarmament. This is seen as a task of considerable international magnitude by the Department of Foreign Affairs which appreciates the confidence expressed in Tevi.

January 5 will see the announcement of candidates for the general election on 22 January.

The Ministry of Education has advised that over 200 teachers serving in the Republic are not on the government payroll. DG Roy Obed says some schools were set up by politicians or organisations which asked the government to support them, but which then placed teachers without following the appropriate professional guidelines.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry – the VCCI – is pleased the Vanuatu Workers’ Union has decided to participate in the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council (TLAC) meetings to discuss employee leave entitlements. Labour Commissioner Kaluat is pleased that work can proceed with ILO assistance for a replacement to the Employment Act.

Paama chiefs are concerned that still nothing has been done about the wreck of the MV Kimbe off Tavulai after many years of spreading oil waste and pollution in their waters. The issue has often been raised in the media. Villagers are unable to use any of the reef and near shore marine life for consumption.

Vanuatu’s graduation out of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) grouping has been deferred until 2020. Lower tariffs and export fees are amongst the preferential terms from which we can continue to benefit for a little longer.

The death has been announced of Richard Leona of Pentecost, another of the country’s "founding fathers". A highly regarded teacher from Loltong, he is also known for his great contribution to cultural affairs as chairman of the VKS Fieldworkers for 20 years. He also played a significant role in Araga research for a definitive Raga dictionary still awaiting publication.

The Citizenship Commission has made a billion vatu in citizenship sales this year. 123 new citizenship certificates were handed out on Monday this week for persons naturalised, non-citizens marrying Ni-Vanuatu, and re-gainers of the privilege.

Happy Christmas to Digest readers