Takara youth call for greater share of KuTH Energy’s geothermal project

Takara land disputes once again make the area a hot spot for Vanuatu. The people of the village held a meeting Sunday and youth leader Lopez Adams says the vast majority of younger people — those under 35 — were determined the villagers be granted a 51% share in any business emanating from the energy source below their ground. Adams points out that the KuTH geothermal energy project will affect everyone.

In another story, also in Daily Post, the Takara chiefs are appealing to the young people not to disturb the Takara ground temperature surveys being undertaken by Tim Hewatt of KuTH. The chiefs made the call following a meeting organised by the Lands Tribunal Office and “all four disputing parties” this week to let KuTH know of their concerns. Hewatt told this meeting that the “young people of Takara cannot be ignored from the discussions because they are going to be the beneficiaries tomorrow”.

VBTC Radio News began last night with two items from Parliament which will be of interest to everyone:

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) are investing close to 500 million vatu in the National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV). Parliament heard today on VBTC that the NBV is selling shares in the Bank to these finance corporations. The approval of Parliament is being sought by motion of the Parliament. The move will see NBV improving its services, MPs were told by Finance Minister Moana Carcasses. The motion was carried.

The Vanuatu Government has assured Vanuatu Post Ltd that it will have a share in the new fibre optic Interchange cable between Port Vila and Suva. The government has guaranteed Vanuatu Post Ltd that their contribution will not be over 400 million vatu. The guarantee was passed by Parliament in a motion moved by the Minister of Finance. The intention is to develop Information & Communications Technology (ICT) in Vanuatu. Demonstrations of ICT are being given to MPs this morning. It is to be hoped the Finance Ministry’s Vanuatu Financial Services Commission gets its websites up-to-date soon, as is now promised. The only so-called news on that website at 10 last night dated from March 2011. The VFSC should be able to do better. It can organise an office in Hong Kong to bring Asian so-called investors here. It ought to be able to put together a meaningful website.

The NSW Supreme Court’s  judgement against Robert Agius is available online. Justice Simpson gives all the facts of the matter which will prove interesting to members of the Vanuatu Finance Centre. The VFC was vocal at the time of the Agius’s arrest, but has said nothing following the conviction. The full judgement is available at this link.

The controversial Amendment to the Public Service Act of 2011 which will put Directors General on contract was gazetted last week. All DGs are to be terminated on 23 November. The controversy surrounds the possibility — a likelihood, given the way government works — of the posts becoming political. MP Sela Molisa said the Bill was unconstitutional, taking the DGs from the Public Service and putting them under the Government. However, Prime Minister Sato Kilman did not accept this, saying the DG posts were a “career path” for civil servants, Daily Post reports.

Daily Post carries a story concerning the Muana Health Centre of Abwatuntora, Pentecost as taking over from Lolowai hospital as Penama’s “provincial hospital”. A tour by senior health ministry officials visited almost all health centres and aid posts on the island and Minister Willie Reuben Abel declared Mauna the “Penama Provincial  Hospital Headquarters for Penama Province”. No mentioned was made of the upgrading of the Melsisi Hospital which is receiving major aid funds from France.

The new Chinese Ambassador assures strengthening the relationship between Vanuatu and China. He is Mr Xie Bohua.