Govt’s 100 Day Plan; Bribery MPs appeals quashed by Parole Board; tourists threatened

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Port Vila’s roads – planned upgrade now downgraded

There is quite a lot in this weekend’s reading. The Government has launched its 100 Days Plan: 30 pages outlining priorities [Editor’s note: this is not currently publicly available (!) – but we will post a copy when available] Before the details became available, PM Salwai drew attention to an objective to better control expenditure and review the government revenue base. He will be immediately transferring the Police Force back to Internal Affairs. Land law reform is another priority to assist ni-Vanuatu to actively participate in economic development. A water strategy is being prepared. Newly introduced parliamentary secretaries will assist the machinery of government to work better. The review of government in order to make it work more effectively underscores the whole Plan. More of the 100 Days Plan is expected to emerge in the coming days. (Daily Post).

The upgrade of Port Vila’s road network has been set back owing to governmental delays and foreign exchange rate fluctuations. More of the CBD roads will not be fully rehabilitated in the first instance. RMS Engineering, undertaking the work, estimates the CBD roads will last for 5-6 years rather than the originally planned 15 years. This occurs because of the delays since 2012 now enabling less quality in road repair. The works are taking place under the ADB and Australian Government financed Port Vila Urban Development Project. Drainage will be improved together with street lighting and signage. The 39 million dollars project also sees new sanitation for Seaside Futuna, Ohlen Nabanga and Mele Waisis. (Vanuatu Times)

MPs imprisoned on criminal charges (bribery) Carcasses, Telukluk, Wright and Yatan have had their appeals for early release turned down by the Parole Board. By law they will have to remain in custody for half their sentences (ie, well into 2017) before such an appeal can be heard.

Ned Lowe of the family resort on Tanna (burned out shortly after another young man was murdered) has been acquitted of murder. Only circumstantial evidence was ever presented and essentially there was no case to answer. (Independent)

Santo land on which is located the Agricultural College, Simonsen Wharf, Shell Company, Pekoa airport, Colmar plantations, the ex-British Paddock, showground, Luganville city stadium and other landmarks, Suranda, IRHO and Palekula has been denied Molbarav family ownership by Alicta Vuti of the Land Management Office as originally determined by the Santo/Malo Council of Chiefs. (Independent)

Violence has continued at the Port Vila wharf with the stoning of an Adventures in Paradise tourist coach. (Daily Post) It is thought the threatening activity is related to to rates being charged.

The Fondation Suzanne Bastien is planning an April exhibition to target marine pollution which remains a huge problem for the capital city of our island paradise. A first meeting of concerned individuals (and all are welcome) takes place at the Foundation on the Pango Road at 4.30 on Wednesday 2 March. More information on the Fondation’s Facebook page.