Vanuatu daily news digest | 18 February 2013Posted: February 18, 2013
The recently appointed Minister of Justice Thomas Laken underwent a ‘high level’ custom ceremony to join the Green Confederation at his home village on Tanna on Saturday, VBTC reported. He was welcomed inside the ‘umbrella of the Greens’ by almost-minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil who allegedly worked hard to ensure Laken obtained the ministerial post. Another MP from East Tanna was to be welcomed into the Green Confederation yesterday, Sunday, one Silas Yaten. Yaten secured the highest vote for UMP in Tanna in the national elections but is now throwing UMP patronage away and crossing the floor to almost-minister Carcasses Kalosil’s grouping which seems to have tremendous appeal. The general public questions whether Carcasses Kalosil’s salary, higher than the President’s, is achieving this. It has been pointed out in the media that all Kalosil’s duties are already allocated to others anyway. All of the Tanna provincial councillors were said to have joined the Kalosil grouping before the result of the provincial election was announced. Votes are still being counted by the Electoral Commission.
The Erakor Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Carlot lashed out at the media when he presented a bus to the Erakor school on Friday, saying regardless of the very big work with which he is involved, the media continues to damage his name. There is still the case he has to answer before the courts, he admits, but yet the media goes on discussing it, he was recorded as saying by Radio Vanuatu News. “The media gives me much negative publicity,” he said. Carlot protested that every diplomatic posting made by him to foreign embassies was agreed by the Council of Ministers. The bus given to the Erakor bi-lingual school was one of those presented by China for the ACP meeting early last year. Carlot said he personally negotiated the gift of these buses. Other schools and organisations are to receive buses, but no list of handovers was offered by Carlot.
Whilst government is changing political allegiances or lashing out at the media, the National Council of Chiefs has joined the opposition in telling government to pull up its socks. “People are not happy with what they hear about corruption and the leaders today,” said National Council of Chiefs’ chairman Seni Mao Tirsupe on his return from a nation-wide tour concerned with the Mama Graon project. “This is a wake-up call for the government to pull up its socks if it is serious about its determination to weed out corruption,” Chief Tirsupe warned in today’s Daily Post. And he instanced corrupt practices in the Scholarships Office and Lands Ministry. He says economic development has to be for everyone and not only for one minister, MP or director of a department.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs is still defending its position in giving work permit exemption to winners of Hong Kong ‘Permanent Residency’ status in Vanuatu. Labour Commissioner Lionel Kaluat explained in Post last week that the strategy is to bring “multi-millionaires” to Vanuatu, yet it is still not explained why the fabulously rich need to be offered such jobs on building sites or stocking the shelves of supermarkets. Is it so they can learn English or French and Bislama in a workplace environment? Maybe a little bonding with the typically cash strapped nationals of their country of adoption will help their appreciation of their new home. The answer is still awaited.
Answers are now increasingly demanded of government as regards the Palekula fishing company debt to more than 100 fishermen. Minister of Justice Laken appointed a four member commission of enquiry last month, but 34 years after their money was taken, the Fishermen’s Association is insisting the government acts. There are facts in existence concerning their outstanding wages and association president Remy Kunuan does not want further delays. The Kaohsiung Fishing Company and government itself must “finalise the payments and put to rest this long outstanding issue,” says Kunuan.