2016 Budget tabled in Parliament; Severe weather ahead; International Day of Forests today

Forests are vital for our water supply. Photo: supplied

Forests are vital for our water supply. Photo: supplied

Finance Minister Gaetan Pikioune this morning tabled the Vt 19 billion 2016 appropriation bill in Parliament as the eleventh House sat for the first time to debate legislation. The Opposition objected to what it saw as the Government bulldozing though — because of numbers – an expenditure budget increased upon what it had prepared, presumably when in power. They were unable to see any valid reason for the increase.

Yesterday was International Day of Happiness; today is International Day of Forests, as Jude Tabi from the Dept of Forests tells us in the video below. The theme of this year’s event is forests and water, highlighting how protecting forests protects our water supply – a message that resonates with many in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam.

Vanuatu has a severe weather warning from near midday today. Low pressure to the near west of Vanuatu extends a trough to New Caledonia and the system is moving in a ESE direction. It is likely to bring heavy rain and thunder to most parts of Vanuatu and there may be flash flooding in certain areas. Winds inland (40-50 km/hr) may affect central and southern parts of the country as the system approaches. The potential for this system to develop into a tropical cyclone within the next 5 days is very low (<10%).

Politicians and media alike, we must all get our facts right. There have been various observations concerning the now vacant PM’s office once being the French Resident Commissioner’s residence. It never was. It was always his office and his house is what became State House at Independence, slightly higher on the hill and a wreck since Cyclone Uma. The question arises with the statements being made at the time of the PMO transfer ceremony to its new interim location, what was Sky Garden hotel.

And another media mistake. The 11 in prison for bribery did not plead guilty to conspiracy charges as this news site stated, reporting from other news media, Saturday. Their pleas are all “not guilty” and the conspiracy relates to their meeting at a hotel to arrange their “pardon” by Marcellino Pipite.

Daily Post today has an excellent piece on the Lapetasi wharf development for the capital.