Govt moves to forfeit leases with significant amounts of unpaid rent

The forfeiture of land leases with outstanding lease rent is receiving serious attention, says Acting Director of Lands Peter Pata. He told VBTC Radio News some 50 leases had received forfeiture notices recently. Eight urban and rural leases have already been cancelled. Pata, one of the beneficiaries of the cheap land being given away by Minister Steven Kalsakau, says the Department will not accept any arrangement after forfeiture notices are issued. The Department of Lands collected over Vt 507 million in lease rent in August this year, a 62% increase over the same month last year. However, the arbitrary manner in which leases are being cancelled (e.g. Café du Village, Ciné Hickson, Marina Motel) continues to be a cause for concern, especially when land leases are being away to political cronies or as bribes in in shady backroom deals.

With eight days to go to the national election, Radio Vanuatu News gives us the statistics. They claim 348 candidates for the 52-seat Parliament — however our count gives a total of 346 candidates, not 348. Proxy voting ends on 24 October, and campaigning closes on 27 October at 7pm.

The Pacific Institute of Public Policy has trumped the Vanuatu Electoral Office by publishing the 2012 Vanuatu election candidate lists online. They have helpfully tabulated the candidates by name and also by constituency. Why couldn’t the Vanuatu Government do this?

There’s more in Daily Post today concerning the unexploded World War 2 shell on Air Vanuatu. This blog carried this story late last night. Otherwise, there’s not a lot of other news today: election campaigning continued. And of course, like Letty Williams Kaltongga in Daily Post today, they all want to make a difference. Or at least they say they do. An interesting (if somewhat lengthy) letter in the Daily Post reminds voters that ultimately, they have the power, not politicians.