Kilman praises Opposition; Vt 3.5 M embezzled from Dept of Livestock and Quarantine

Prime Minister Sato Kilman says he believes the Opposition has worked well during the Parliamentary term that has just ended, reports Radio Vanuatu News. In the Daily Post, he praises the collective efforts of everyone in the Parliament. There were challenges, but they were “dealt with in a way that enabled democracy to prevail.” He was giving his last address at the closing of Parliament.

Daily Post exposes misappropriation at the Department of Livestock and Quarantine Services amounting to Vt 3.5 million over 18 months. Immediately implicated is Director Benuel Tarilongi, who claims the loss had nothing to do with him. A audit report ten years ago highlighted similar corruption and made recommendations which has obviously never been implemented.

The Presbyterian Assembly has called for voters to support big political parties. This was originally a cornerstone of the Utas Declaration of 2007, which called on people to go “back to their roots”, suggesting the two-party system at Independence. Such a ploy would clearly minimise instability and take us back to stronger cabinet government, away from “every minister a prime minister in his own ministry” (PM Kilman at last week’s Face-to-Face).

Finance Minister Moana Carcasses and Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau held a joint press conference to point out that the amendment to the Utilities Regulatory Authority Act, which prompted an Opposition boycott of Parliament, was different from the first such controversial attempt to change the legislation. Prepaid meters for electricity seem to be ithe sticking point. However, we cannot independently assess this without a copy of the proposed legislation.

It is odd that the Finance Minister and the Lands Minister would give a press conference about the URA, since the URA is the responsibility of neither. The URA sits within the portfolio of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities.

The pilot study report for Vanuatu on “Alternative Indicators for Well-being for Melanesia” was issued this week and is covered in today’s Daily Post.

And in an illuminating letter to the editor of the Daily Post, Marie-Noelle Ferrieux Patterson, chair of Transparency Vanuatu, reveals that her constant critic, the Abkhazia ambassador plenipotentiary, illegal Vanuatu passport holder Juris Gulbis, is yet another Saken. He is nominally in the same company as that other South Pacific Abkhazia standard bearer, Te Moli Vanaos Mol Saken Thi Tham Goiset and the cowardly self-proclaimed owner of the mega-yacht Phocea, Pascal Anh Quan Saken, who deserted his crew and ship at the first sight of law and order. Mr Gulbis sees Australia and New Zealand as threats to our independence. Heavens be praised that Abkhazia just doles out money in 50 million dollar doses. Have we seen our Abkhazian $50 million yet?