New portfolios likely; Niscol fire under investigation; Lini Day exhibition a hit

Reform of the ministerial structure of the Vanuatu Government will enable the creation of new portfolios. PM Charlot Salwai last week pointed out some portfolios where there is a need for such review. He gave as an example the heavy work load on one ministry – Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – when addressing a press conference on Friday.

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council has been asked to allow a delay in the Vanuatu Decent Work Country Programme for a year. The Vanuatu Government had not prepared a decent work programme in the time allowed, owing to the disruptions of Cyclone Pam. The Employment Act, Trade Disputes Act and Trade Union Act will also be reviewed by the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council Radio Vanuatu News reported today following their meeting of last Thursday. The Employment Relations Bill which was supposed to go before the next sitting of Parliament is therefore being held back in the first instance.

The fire which destroyed the office records of the Northern Islands Stevedoring Company from about 3 am Saturday at Luganville is being investigated by the Police Department. They are trying to determine whether the NISCOL fire was caused by an electrical fault or arson and whether outside help would be needed for their detective work in the matter. The new Minister for International Affairs with responsibility for local authorities, Alfred Maoh, handed over new heavy machinery for the company two days earlier. The fire only concerned the offices of the company. The first pictures of the fire were taken by the Agriculture Minister, Matai Seremiah.

A Lini Day exhibition is continuing at the National Archives. Many people have already visited the displays. It will remain open throughout this week. At a church service in Port Vila yesterday attended by many dignitaries, President Baldwin Lonsdale called on the Vanuatu Christian Council and Malvatumauri to organise the Lini memorial event next year instead of just the Anglican Church. The Head of State pointed out “Lini was a leader, a church leader, a chief and politician who did not bow down nor surrender to those who did not believe in his ideals, vision and mission, and his ideals and vision live on today.”