Happy new year to all our readers and welcome to 2017!
Vanuatu’s regional leadership of kava production and export has been dealt a blow with news this week of a shipment of adulterated kava being returned from New Zealand. Vanuatu’s primacy in the industry began with the recognition of Vanuatu as the original site of domestication of kava, the large number of noble kava varieties established here, and 2002’s Kava Act designed to protect consumers from poor quality kava. In 2016 Vanuatu was given responsibility for the FAO’s Codex Alimentarius research into the crop. Vanuatu’s main export competitor, Fiji, only established similar kava consumer protection legislation last year, and has many fewer noble varieties.
Over 600kg of dried, ground kava in a container exported by JPO Kava Export was returned from New Zealand as adulterated, reports Daily Post. Director of Vanuatu Biosecurity Dept Timothy Tumukon says the shipment looked to be mixed with ‘makas’—bark and root residue added to increase the Read the rest of this entry »
Six acting Directors-General have been appointed by Government. They are Sam Namuri (Public Works), Benjamin Shing (Agriculture), Michael Mangawai (Lands), Pakoa Siri (Justice), Jesse Dick (Education) and George Borugu (Trade and Tourism). They have all been advised of what is expected of them as Directors General and have been notified of the consequences of misconduct. A performance review will take place in 12 months. There are specific terms of reference for two DGs relating to Cyclone Pam recovery for Trade and Tourism, and the backlog in processing customary land ownership and leases for Lands. (Daily Post)
The total of non-performing investments considered by the Vanuatu National Provident Fund Commission of Inquiry is colossal. There were VNPF loans for both properties and equities including Read the rest of this entry »
Australian ministerial delegation visits Vanuatu — as end of Australian shortwave broadcasts to Pacific is announcedPosted: December 8, 2016
Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, and the Minister for International Development and the Pacific Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells are visiting Vanuatu today and have been discussing the Australia’s development aid program with Vanuatu officials. An investment package of A$1.5 million (Vt 120.3 million) is also on the agenda and a new aid partnership agreement is to be signed. Management of health supplies and medicines is an important element in this regard. (Radio Vanuatu)
The visit of the Australian Government ministers responsible for the Australia’s relationship with the Pacific coincides with the announcement by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that their Pacific islands shortwave broadcasting service is to cease. Radio Australia which has served the region well over many decades. These broadcasts will terminate in Read the rest of this entry »
The Efate land grab story we broke on Monday has got international attention — Radio Australia’s current affairs program Pacific Beat broadcast a story about the land grab on their afternoon program today. Here’s the transcript, taken from the Pacific Beat website, where you can also listen to the audio version of the story.
New concerns over loss of traditional land in Vanuatu
Landowners in Vanuatu are asking questions as to why a substantial parcel of traditional land has been handed over to investors, while court action challenging the lease is still underway.
Just before Christmas, Lands Minister James Bule, signed approval for 2300 hectares of prime land overlooking Vanuatu’s only World Heritage Area to be leased by investors with connections in New Caledonia.
Land and Justice Party Leader, Ralph Regenvanu, says the transaction should be investigated.
Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Speaker: Land and Justice Party Leader, Ralph Regenvanu, Siobhan McDonnell, from the Australian National University
GARRETT: This latest parcel of land sits high on the hills on the north coast of Efate – Vanuatu’s main island. It overlooks Lelepa Island and the Roi Mata World Heritage Area. For the last 3 years the traditional landowners, the Mangaliliu and Lelepa people, have been been working to protect it for future generations. Ralph Regenvanu, is Leader of Vanuatu’s land and Justice Party.
REGENVANU: It is very dissappointing [sic] to see a Minister like James Bule, who is a senior Minister completely going against the wishes of the custom landonwers which is what, you know, our consitution says, custom landowners are the ones who should have the total rights over their own land.