Failure to attend court costs Govt Vt 6 million; Matevulu students stage walk-out, claiming mistreatment

Daily Post begins the day with a truly alarming and very unclear story concerning a government authorised payout to Captain Jenneck Patunvanu of Vt 6 million. It is understood to be in relation to work on the MV Southern Star and Northern Star, both nearly wrecks, whilst the story alleges the payout is because Prosecutions failed to attend a court case. Quite likely. But whose? And what court case? Presumably Patunvanu is taking government to court for payments owed for his work on the two vessels. Little good it did the vessels or Vanuatu. But the attorney general is insisting on payment. Captain Patunvanu, however, ‘”a national shipping expert in the design and construction” of ships brought two ships into the country illegally not so long ago and they were impounded. A criminal case has been brought against him. But the Prosecution failed to attend. Again?

This story will need a lot of clarification.

The alarming story of yesterday was the walkout from Matevulu College, Santo, of over 250 students who proceeded to town. They arrived at Unity Park at 11 pm Saturday night. The walkout was first mentioned by Radio Vanuatu yesterday but not touched upon today. It appears as Santo News in Daily Post this morning. Alleged swearing at students by the principal, the use of a former high risk prisoner as security and the cancellation of field trips are the reasons given for the ‘strike’. Daily Post had answers to the complaints against Principal George Iapson, a number seemingly lies. It is alleged complaints were initiated by persons trying to undermine the good restoration work he, Iapson, has supervised at the school which was in a very poor state for some time. The District Education Office has given a strong deadline for the students to be back in class. There is possibly a need for better communications between senior staff and students.

An Irish investigator is focusing on Vanuatu in a manner like the Wickenby tax avoidance monitors from Australia. The ‘down at heel’ Irish economy, it seems, is having to go to the ends of the earth to discover what might have been salted away, to here, and Risk Management International is searching.

John Howard, pioneer of the Central and Reserve Banks of Vanuatu has died on the Gold Coast of Australia. Howard, an Englishman, gave much assistance to the country’s first finance minister, Kal Kalsakau, Post reports. He was instrumental in setting up the country’s bank, and in keeping Vanuatu in surplus. He also helped in dealing with Australia’s treasurer over hordes of dollars here. This was another John Howard, who went on to become Australian PM.

VRP went through a reconciliation ceremony before the Tautu Congress, Radio Vanuatu reports. It was the second such reconciliation after one at Erakor last year, and it was followed at Tautu by a period of “confusion.” At Tautu the party split definitively into two groups. It seems the Tautu Congress was opened by Maxime Carlot Korman without, however, an “adequate mandate.” The matter is now believed to be before the courts, like the UMP case.

Lenakel now has a service station for petroleum products and it belongs to a local Tannese businessman. He has been helped by Pacific Petroleum to get the enterprise running.