Vanuatu bidding to host UN agency regional office; Hong Kong advertising campaign touts Vanuatu permanent residence

Vanuatu offers to host an office for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) leads Daily Post reporting today. Europe Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy called on the UNIDO DG Dr Yumkella in Vienna on July 9 and says a “high level technical mission” is planning to visit Vanuatu in September to discuss the location of the regional office here.

Daily Post also carries the story of the Hong Kong immigration agency’s advertisement for people to emigrate to Vanuatu and achieve permanent residence here. The Post cover photo shows a small boy featured in the advertisement saying “Vanuatu! The place I will like to live in.” The ink barely dry on the WTO agreement, the Vanuatu Gov’t is losing no time in opening up the country to foreigners, allegedly investors. (See this post to view the advertisement and read a transcript.)

The kava issue was discussed at the World Trade Organisation last week. The Director General of Trade, Marokon Alilee, and one of the Brussels based diplomats informed the WTO delegates about recent developments concerning the kava trade. The WTO was said to be glad to have learned of the trade issues relating to kava and what could be done to bring back EU interest and markets for it in other countries. The visitors, Radio Vanuatu News advised, were told “how to settle the issue through the WTO dispute settlement system,” although it is not strictly a dispute of the WTO. Trade Minister Ham Lini will officially deposit the Vanuatu WTO Agreement on 25 and 26 July. Vanuatu will become the 156th member of the WTO.

A group of parliamentarians from the UK, Australia, NZ and Vanuatu has signed a paper condemning the suppression of political activity in West Papua. Vanuatu MP Ralph Regenvanu was Vanuatu’s signatory and said he was sorry to see so many incidents of violence in Wamena and Jayapura. The group also expressed its sorrow at the death of the pro-Independence leader, Mako Tabuni, and asked that imprisoned activists be released. The group calls for a genuine act of self-determination which the West Papua people have so far been denied.

Collection of the field data on the Gov’t owned town land leases is half way through. The work is said to be progressing well, with over half the leasehold properties visited by the Lands teams, Daily Post says.

Ni-Vanuatu pilot and former CEO of Solomon Airlines, Ron Sumsum, has again been appointed to head that airline. He has run the airline since 1997, says Radio News, and even though his appointment was controversial, he is being returned to the top job.

The Vanuatu Teachers’ Union (VTU) is holding a meeting with Lycée teachers tomorrow, concerning the many teacher issues which have recently come to the fore, reports Radio Vanuatu. It is on Thursday at 4pm at the Chiefs’ Nakamal.

Police can prosecute hoax callers to emergency numbers we learn today. An MoU between the police and telecoms regulator enables this.

Gov’t held a farewell party for the outgoing Chinese Ambassador, Cheng Shuping, this week.