Vanuatu daily news digest | 26 February 2013

The Leader of the Opposition, Edward Natapei, has spoken out against politicians whose children have been approved for overseas scholarships without their places being approved on merit. He claims the National Education Council no longer controls the selection of students to study overseas. Some children of ministers have been sent to Fiji for foundation level on Vanuatu scholarship funding by government, when this level can be taken here in Vanuatu. Natapei was speaking on Radio Vanuatu. "Unplanned spending over such matters as the private deal for an out-of-court settlement with Snoopy stationery have exacerbated the problem," he said. He could also have mentioned the deal with an Asian book provider last year which caused the cancellation of a properly tendered contract to an old established Vila stationers.

Prime Minister Kilman is blaming earlier governments than his for the "downfall of the Northern Star and Southern Star" shipping services, he told Radio Vanuatu. "The people who were to run these ships failed," he said. Certainly his government has not succeeded.

Daily Post leads with the termination of Morris Kaloran, Director of Ports and Harbours, which is generally seen as a politically motivated action allied to government involvement with Phocea. Kaloran had been cleared of charges, but these were again cited for suspension and then termination. Also mentioned in a "Directors terminated" story is Benuel Tarilongi of the Quarantine Department which seems to be being turned into a private company. Agriculture Minister Moli has ‘seen off’ the service. However, when this blog contacted the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission last week, Bio-Security Vanuatu had not yet been listed as a Vanuatu company, with or without politicians in key positions.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Vanuatu waters is the subject of a meeting in Brussels which was attended by Fisheries Director Moses Amos and a Fisheries delegation from Vanuatu, together with Vanuatu’s EU representative Roy Mickey Joy, reported by VBTC Radio News. The European Commissioner has previously had occasion to point out illegal fishing in Vanuatu waters and there is to be a further meeting here in May. IUU fishing is generally blamed on failure to enforce national and international laws owing to lack of capacity or a poor level of governance, and a driver of such activity is the existence of registers of flags of convenience such as Vanuatu provides. Roy Mickey Joy says the EU will expect a response to IUU matters within three months or fish sales into the European market will be stopped.

The Minister of Education Steven Kalsakau and his brother Yoan Kalsakau were in court Monday to answer their fraud charges reports today’s Daily Post. Belair Shipping’s Willie Ben Karie has now been trying for a year to have justice in the matter of money he advanced the pair for his purchase of a ship which never arrived. There are some 35 witnesses in the case which was to take all week. A temporary adjournment, however, was allowed yesterday in order to save a little time for all concerned whilst counsel for the defendants and the Public Prosecutor sought points on which they could agree.

Radio Vanuatu has reported the results of the provincial elections as indicating a general desire for change. Recently formed parties like Graon mo Jastis and Reunification of Moderates for Change generally did much better than those which have been around for a long time. Councillors in the four provinces which voted are being sworn in on Thursday.