Commissioner of Labour questions Chinese businesses over employment and immigration irregularities

Chinese 'investors' arrive at a building site, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 31 July 2012

Chinese ‘investors’ arrive at a building site, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 31 July 2012

The Commissioner of Labour, Lionel Kaluat, has recently summoned the president of the Chinese community to his office to raise complaints over the way in which this Chinese community does not follow the law concerning employment. He will be gathering all Chinese store keepers in the central business district to discuss the issues involved. Customs, VIPA, VFSC and the Shefa Provincial Government are invited to attend this meeting. Those businesses which continue to ignore the Employment Act, Section 73, will be paralysed by the Department of Labour, he promised. Their business licences will have to be cancelled. This news item was a lead story on Radio News this morning.

Government, the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) and Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) have actively encouraged Chinese immigrants to Vanuatu as “investors”, through their television and other advertising in Hong Kong. Many of the investors then work on building sites occupying jobs reserved for ni-Vanuatu. The photo above shows Chinese ‘investors’ arriving early morning to push wheelbarrows, climb ladders and hammer roofing at the Vila City College site. It raises the question as to who is breaking the law, the Chinese, their employers or the Vanuatu Government.

The MV Malkos, a barge belonging to Iririki Island Resort, was wrecked on Sunday night on a Tanna reef. It was trying to leave Lenakel wharf to come to Port Vila, but became stuck on the reef. A wind was said to have got up, VBTC reported.

Phocea Investors see Vanuatu as Amazonia of the Pacific, reports Daily Post. Our four-month-old red diplomatic passport holder, Dr Saken Vu Anh Quan Pascal is introducing the unsuspecting public of Vanuatu to the wonders of Amazonia of the Pacific. Right here. Amazonia of the Pacific is Efate, apparently. Just look at his website for the plantation tour of a lifetime in our very own Efate. Last year his sponsor, Ti Tham Goiset Saken, introduced us to the wonders of Abkhazia, when she established there was money for Vanuatu and for herself in joining us diplomatically to the Black Sea breakaway state. Since then, Dr Saken Anh Quan has been busy in Panama with and latterly in Vanuatu, getting his passport here and the five plantations he would have wanted to show his distinguished guests on the Phocea, had he found the time. It must have been a humbug getting caught up in the Thai Embassy in Singapore as he did. There has to be money in the Amazonia project, too. Both for the diplomat, as well as Vanuatu — well, that remains to be seen. As with Abkhazia.

Onatau is just 30 minutes from the capital on the Rentabao River. It has 240 hectares, holding 200 head of cattle and a great many trees of interest — quality timber and a wide range of fruit trees. Then there’s Bertholetta Excelsia Farm where you can reach out and pick your own fruit from the trees. And as well there are 225 acres of organic coffee. You might think Solway would be found at Santo, but no, it’s at Whitesands and close to the only professional golf course in the region. There’s a big cliff at the back where cowboys at heart love to go and watch the sunset. Malanu is north of the capital, overlooking the northwestern beaches, Whilst there’s no mention of Roi Mata, it’s a place where “hunters enjoy shooting flying fox”. Possibly the firearms found in Phocea were intended for the hunting aspect of the visitors’ stay here. And lastly there’s Coepi. “The ground is rich, and everything grows well.” Especially pigs. Coepi is a pig farm, but there’s no mention of where it’s to be found. However, there is “perfect shelter for the animals”.

This is just another chapter in the Phocea story and one you can check on quite easily. It’s all there at — what you need to see for the holiday of a lifetime.

In his speech at Independence Park yesterday, The Vanuatu Christian Council’s Pastor Kalpokas warned against the abuse of freedom, Daily Post reported. “Freedom is not to be used to satisfy your physical needs but your spiritual life”, said the pastor. The flag was raised in a ceremony involving the police, VMF, maritime wing and the women police officers.

Prime Minister Sato Kilman said that Vanuatu would not be able to achieve its Millennium Development Goals, part of the UN global action plan of which Vanuatu is a member, by the year 2015. Ending poverty and hunger, universal quality education, security in maternal health and from HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability and global partnership were development goals that were highlighted. The Prime Minister also emphasized the many difficulties in revenue collection in his Independence Day speech. The population is growing, but revenue collection was not also increasing, he observed. The Say NO to the WTO Committee reminded this writer that Customs and Tariffs will indeed have to be lowered under the World Trade Organisation rules.

More ‘monkey business’ has been reported. The labourers on the Bouffa plantation were not at all happy to be refused their pay on Thursday when they finished their clearance work for the Independence break. Of course the VNPF should have been able to find the way to get them paid as they put down their tools, this writer was advised. Not so. Nor was their money ready on Friday, nor on Saturday. They see it as being just another “monkey business” of the VNPF, as we’ve come to expect.

VBTC ran a particularly interesting public forum last night on health issues in Northern District. Dr Timothy Vocor and other leading health professionals from Luganville answered questions from participants.