Changes to Constitution to go before Parliament this week

Vanuatu Parliament chamber

Constitutional changes are before Parliament this week. Listed as the first change is one which will enable the regulation of political parties. Parliament will be able to regulate the formation of political parties and may prescribe the way they contest elections. Financial and political integrity, and establishing a fair representation of political opinion, are what is hoped to be achieved. Safeguarding political stability and the integrity of leaders is expected and will be achieved through certain restrictions on candidates and parties. The electoral franchise is to be revised and naturalised citizens will no longer be eligible to stand for election. There will be restrictions placed on the holders of dual citizenship. The Constitutional changes being made will also provide for reserved seats in Parliament for women. There will be new provisions for the appointment of the Speaker. The independence of the Auditor General is provided for, along with the independency of the chairmanships of the Malvatumauri, provincial governments and the Public Service Commission and Judicial Services Commission. There will also be changes affecting the life of a Parliament and the powers of MPs to dissolve a Parliament. The powers of a PM in the lead-up to an election and during the caretaker regime and various aspects of motions of no confidence are also likely to receive amendment. A very long article in Daily Post today gives useful detail of all of these points for debate as soon as this week.

Six Tannese men have been found guilty of kidnapping in the events surrounding the Tanna Lodge Resort last year in which one man died. They were ordered by the chief, the court heard, in their activities. The judge said the chief should also be prosecuted. (Daily Post)

An internet scam which has already been dealt with by Daily Post and The Independent occupies much of their front pages again today. Air Safaris’ owner Matt Erceg had already raised the fraudulent activity with his bank, ANZ, and the story has been given on social media. The bottom line is never give your password to anyone else. Tricked ANZ customers lost two million vatu in recent weeks through the scam.

Long-term former resident and teacher at Malapoa College, Charlie Pierce, has made peace with his attacker at his Malapoa home 4 years ago. The emotional meeting of forgiveness and reconciliation took place in the High Risk Correctional Centre last Friday. (Daily Post)