Vanuatu daily news digest | 2 June 2013

The Sunday night Radio Vanuatu (VBTC) news provided an excellent opportunity for voters and citizens to compare and contrast the style differences between National and Village Leadership.

Nationally we have "The Council of Ministers has agreed that the international convention centre will be built where it was planned to be built in the first instance, close to Parliament in Port Vila." The Minister of Sport and Youth Development, Tony Wright, told Radio Vanuatu News that the decision of the Council of Ministers will greatly assist "the sports complex in Port Vila." One can only wonder why this announcement is being made by this minister when Daily Post of yesterday agreed the plan to move the convention centre will be "scrapped" and promised that the government’s PRO would soon make "an official statement". We don’t have that yet. Removal of the convention centre was one of the main points mentioned in the 100 Day List of Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil when he had just taken office. Under Aid Funded Priorities it gives as point 5 "Relocate Chinese convention centre from Parliament Park," and the PM himself in addressing the media the night he announced the 100 Day List pointed out the immense area of public greenspace required for this unproven development of the former government. No statement of profit for the government from last year’s ACP meeting has yet been made by the government, and yet Brussels Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy is prepared to announce that he has "taken care of" the other Pacific ambassadors in Brussels who might be wanting to host this ACP-EU parliamentary meeting. He is also prepared to announce that the Queen will likely visit Vanuatu in 2017. Whether he had "taken care of" Buckingham Palace (which normally reveals such things as regards Queen Elizabeth), or not, before returning to his Brussels post Tuesday, "final confirmations from a technical assessment team from London shortly" was all he considered remained. The issue of Parliament Park is surely that of public land and the green space at Parliament. The general public has not had a chance to discuss the issue, and profitability of international conferences for Port Vila has yet to be proven. Government may well "own" the former Colardeau Plantation now, but has this about-face over re-location of the conference facility been brought about by serious debate amongst leaders, or not? One would have thought it should have been amongst the most important topics discussed when the new coalition was being formed somewhere near Mangoes hotel at Seaside, two months ago. But it now looks more like the government breaking up over the leadership issue.

Then we have the erstwhile Minister of Finance giving Daily Post a back-of-an-envelope set of costs for the Torba meeting of the Council of Ministers (CoM) of over VT 28 million. Yes, that sounds maybe reasonably right, and yes, it was bound to be hugely expensive and many would say un-necessary, if only to show the non-urban people government is interested in their affairs. The general rural public knows very well the extent to which they may have been sidelined since CRP, and most will readily understand anything like VT 28 million, simply to have an "away" meeting for a dozen ministers and DGs (which would otherwise be free of charge in Vila) amounts to "politik nomo."

Turning now to Village Leadership, in tonight’s Radio News we move to Pango village and RSE workers donating VT 50.000 each to a community project. There was a total of 7 young men and they gave VT 350.000 to a community projects committee for the construction of a village dispensary. Chief Kaltal and his council and church and youth leaders celebrated the occasion together. The chief said he was very proud the youth had seen the need for such a project for the village. The youth committee for the village comprises non-working young school dropouts, and they call themselves "Nakon", or "tree roots." Other members will work in the RSE scheme in future. They also have sandalwood and pig farming projects in the village area, and they have built a public toilet near the community field. Well done, Nakon.


One Comment on “Vanuatu daily news digest | 2 June 2013”

  1. Bryan Death says:

    There are so many other priorities that aid funding needs to address in this beautiful country
    the roads for one are falling apart before our eyes leaving a very poor impression on our main source of income – Tourists!!!
    The Warwick Hotel group spent millions of dollars developing magnificent 700 seat conference facility for the government so that the ACP conference could go ahead last year as planned.
    Questions that must be asked>

    Who will manage this facility?
    Will it just end up like Korman Stadium?