Vanuatu daily news digest | 18 December 2012

A man from Tongoa, hospitalised following a serious road accident in the Agathis area at the weekend, has died, Acting Deputy Police Commissioner John Taleo has announced to the media. The story is both sad and serious and has led to clashes between young men of several communitie, and Taleo is anxious to prevent the violence from spreading. The incident began as a road accident, but the media have reported that the bus was stoned by island-based gangs taking matters into their own hands. Homes have been damaged too. However, Taleo is quite right to insist on dealing with the matter as a traffic accident. The driver is being held by the police, according to VBTC midday news. He is certainly safer with them. However, look at how readily the South Tanna versus West Tanna dispute has enlarged.

The administrator of the South Pacific Fishing Company Claims Association, Mr Remy Kuaunuan, has told Daily Post that 1,000 fishermen are still awaiting their wage claims which date back to August 1989. The amount involved is huge, and many of the fishermen who spent years at sea with the SPFC company have not received any of the wages for which they worked hard for during their long and uncomfortable years at sea. Many have already died. The Council of Ministers has this year approved a commission of inquiry to look into the matter of the claims of each individual claimant. Mr Kuaunuan and his members question whether the commission has actually been formed. There has been no feedback from CoM at all about this matter.

Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union Roy Mickey Joy has expressed his displeasure with the Pacific leaders in the ACP Group (the Asian, Caribbean and Pacific collaboration of developing countries) for not sending a Pacific leader to the current meeting of ACP heads of state in Equatorial Guinea. The ACP Group is due to expire with the Cotonou Agreement in 2020 and, Mr Joy is castigating his Pacific colleagues for not sending a president or prime minister. Meanwhile, Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot has been attending a meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People in Marrakech, Morocco.