200 teachers unpaid for more than 1 year, says Vanuatu Teachers’ Union

Teachers have warned Government that the responsibility for paying teachers belongs with Government. They were answering the ministry’s reply to the meeting of 200 of them at the lycée last week. The scandal of the allegedly 200 teachers unpaid for more than a year remains, and if the Vanuatu Teachers’ Union is unable to do anything about it (what the ministry seemed to want – to deal with their union) they will not let the matter rest. “We are not slaves” they state. They are speaking with Godwin Ligo in the main story carried by Daily Post today and their statement is well worth the attention of everyone, but especially government. Classrooms are in a dreadful state, along with facilities, so where has all the budgeted money gone? Would the director of education work for years without any pay? they naturally ask.

Pipite, minister of education, showed his political savvy last week in hijacking the presidency of the Vanuatu Republican Party (VRP) by the time honoured ‘congressional takeover’ means. Regardless of the fact that he secured 3/4 of the ‘mandates’ from Maxime Carlot Korman (in another interesting Daily Post story from Godwin Ligo), it will certainly not be a pushover getting any mandates anywhere from his ‘civil servants’, the teachers. Especially whilst 200 remain unpaid. He will need to do something here very quickly. Teachers are blaming Director of Education Services, Roy Obed, in the first instance, as the minister’s spokesman, but should there be fury, it is the government which will suffer (and whose fault of course it is).

Also drawing the world’s attention to the wrongdoing of politicians is NISCOL former chairman and Santo businessman, Kuvu Noel, who is allegedly owed Vt 497 million by the company. It was he who removed and fixed much faulty equipment of the company. However, he is returning equipment and NISCOL cheques and the stevedoring company should soon be working again. During his term he was often asked by ministers and leaders for money, “but I refused because that money does not belong to me,” he told Daily Post.

22 new nurse practitioners have been graduated and congratulated by the minister of health. He said that their graduation is an important achievement for the health service. After three years of training, 13 young men and 9 young women qualified.

And on health subjects it would be good a Vanuatu reporter from any medium cover the massive works going on in and around the hospital and tell us the exact nature of the improvements we may expect.

Justice DG Mark Bebe has promised to remove the name ‘Mama Graon’ from the Mavatumauri lands program. The name is “creating confusion,” says Bebe when our program is to “solve problems since Independence.”

The department of local authorities has requested financial help from the Mama Graon programme to carry out a consultation concerning all foreshore developments and activities in Vanuatu under the Foreshore Development Act, Cap. 190. The quality of future foreshore development projects, the protection of existing foreshore developments and activities, and recommendations needed to update the old Act are requested.

New cruise lines are expected in Vanuatu next year. The P&O/Carnival line is increasing its visits to over 200. In May, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line began trips here, and an executive of the company has been assessing the possibility of a closer connection. There is also interest expressed by other cruise lines. Government is now working on a new policy paper to cover cruise tourism, says Radio News.

The chairman of the decentralisation committee, Jean-François Metmetsan, says work on decentralisation is slow because of a shortage of funds. His remarks concern changing the provincial work force to civil servants. In the first work undertaken, the government changed the positions of the secretaries general to ‘acting’ because the government has insufficient funds. After obtaining budgets it will be necessary to then recruit for the posts. Decentralisation can only be considered again next year. So all talk of service improvement through these moves seems to remain only campaign toktok.

An Observer writing to Daily Post wonders why the “brains” behind the WTO approval, Roy Mickey Joy, did not spend any of his time here explaining some of the things the churches, chiefs and community leaders wanted answers to as regards the WTO. “Why was the WTO approved despite the plea from the majority of the people of Vanuatu to delay the process pending more consultation?” Well, yes. Answer please, Excellency Joy.