Airport upgrade bids announced next month; Claims Airports Vanuatu Ltd used as a political slush fund

Luganville's Pekoa International Airport: companies also bidding to upgrade the country's northern international airport.

Luganville’s Pekoa International Airport: companies also bidding to upgrade the country’s northern international airport.

Bidding in the Bauerfield runway upgrade project also sees four companies vying for consideration for the Whitegrass Tanna and Santo Pekoa airport improvements. Four companies chose only to bid for the Bauerfield project. Long-term and newly arrived companies are bidding. Winning bids will be jointly approved by Government and the World Bank. Successful bids are likely to be known within a month.

Severe criticism surrounds Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL)’s management practices, with politicians accusing previous regimes of malpractice and of misusing AVL funds on motions of no confidence. Public Utilities Minister Napat was answering questions from Ambae MP Mata in Parliament. The Minister said AVL “is quite messy. It is dirtier than dirt. And it is very Read the rest of this entry »

Austria offers Vt 107.3 million for rural electrification project on two islands

solar panels

At a signing ceremony on the margins of the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and  Water Management and the Ministry of Climate Change of Vanuatu signed a funding agreement amounting to Vt 107.3 million (US$1 million) to electrify rural areas. Read the rest of this entry »

Youth act against domestic violence with powerful street performance

Arise and Make a Difference Youths – a new acting group bursting on to the street scene in Port Vila – is about to provide a new street hit with their live performances in such as the marketplace or main street. Pedestrians may find themselves near a couple of aunties buying kumala as the boyfriend of one sneaks up and begins an attack. The other woman calls the police. The aim of the group is to stop broken homes and violence against women. Their message is one of peace. (Daily Post)

That motion… Opposition Leader Kalsakau, whose motion to have PM Charlot Salwai toppled from the Government went nowhere yesterday, was clearly peeved that issues of substance were being ignored. Not taking Constitutional changes to the people Read the rest of this entry »

Extraordinary session of Parliament adjourns to give MPs sufficient time to study bills for debate

Vanuatu Parliament House, Port Vila. Photo: PhillipC/Flickr

Parliament was adjourned 24 hours yesterday to give enough time to all MPs to study the Bills for debate as it was argued there had been insufficient time for this. It seems the extra time was insufficient for Opposition MPs – none turned up for the sitting this morning. No other explanation reached the House as 24 Government MPs waited for the 2nd extraordinary sitting to begin. Nor was any further explanation given in VBTC lunchtime news. Without a quorum, Parliament was obliged to further postpone the sitting, until 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. (Radio Vanuatu)

The new MP for Malo/Aore, Uri Warawara of the Graon mo Jastis Party, was sworn in yesterday.

Government believes the  Read the rest of this entry »

Opposition Leader as AG agreed to Act strengthening protection of customary land – but now wants to remove those protections

Dispute over Vanuatu customary land. Photo © 2016 Vanuatu Daily Digest, all rights reserved

One of the Bills to be brought before Parliament next Monday is a Bill to repeal the Customary Land Management Act of 2013. It is described as a Private Member’s Bill. It was, however, lodged by the Leader of the Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau, who was Attorney-General at the time the Bill was first enacted. The explanatory note regarding the Bill to Repeal, which has not been readily obtainable, claims that the Customary Land Management Act of 2013 fails to enhance the application of the constitutional rule by enabling customary institutions to deal with disputes over land owned in accordance with the customary law of each particular place. The Leader of the Opposition has opposition backbencher support for his present campaign against the three-year old legislation.

A great deal of consultation took place to ensure that every means would be found to enable the Custom Land Management Act to ensure all proper customary rules were complied with, as the Honourable MP would be aware; after all, he was the AG originally enabled this legislation – and now wants repealed.

The Customary Land Management Act was enacted to provide greater protection to customary lands against improper land dealings, by ensuring that all dealings affecting customary land involved community consultation at the nakamal level.

Kalsakau has not been available for comment (he is overseas), but a spokesman said Read the rest of this entry »

Upgrade needed for plant to allow for locally-caught fish to be exported from Vanuatu, says Govt

tuna fishing

The Vanuatu Government is fully committed to the agreement made with the CNFC Overseas Fishery Corporation of China signed in Beijing in 2004 in relation to the Blacksands fish processing plant. Minister Matai Seremaiah wants the plant fully renovated, he told those present for the offload of frozen fish at the main wharf last Friday. Minister Seremaiah appealed to the task force for the Sino-Van fishery comprising officials of his Fisheries Department and MIPU to work together to ensure deadlines are set for the completion of the work at Blacksands. He says it is very frustrating that fish caught in Vanuatu waters by Chinese vessels carrying Vanuatu flags were being unloaded in Fiji and the catch sold as produce of Fiji. (Daily Post, yesterday)

A letter to the Daily Post from the VNPF Commision of Inquiry (CoI) Chairman clarifies Read the rest of this entry »

Supreme Court’s Constitutional case judgement due next Wednesday

File picture of the Vanuatu Supreme Court. Photo: TIV

The Supreme Court will sit next Wednesday to complete the constitutional claims of the 14 ex-MPs in prison for bribery. Former MPs are also giving evidence in the case and Tuesday next week the State Law Office will file its submission in the matter. Judge David Chetwynd will sit at 9am on Wednesday before giving his decision in the constitutional case. Former Public Prosecutor John William Timakata is one appearing on behalf of the SLO. (Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post)

Following an announcement in Daily Post earlier this month pointing out that the kastom owners of Bouffa/Bellevue have had only three premiums paid on the 1,200 leases of their 6,020ha of land from the USP Emalus area to the Teouma River, the kastom owning families are beginning planning with Government a town which will rival Port Vila Read the rest of this entry »