Vanuatu daily news digest | 26 June 2014

Kava is now the leading Vanuatu export amongst Pacific products to Europe according to Radio Vanuatu News today, quoting the director of the SP Forum Economic Governance Programme. He was speaking for the Pacific Islands at the Pacific – EU Business Forum taking place in Port Vila this week. Country representatives were urged to consider their strategies for kava exportation and growers called upon to ensure quality production. The German ban ended on 10 June. Vanutu’s representative at the Forum, EU Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy, called on more foreign investment interest in the industry.

Head of the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority, Smith Tebu, has pointed out the need for foreign investors to follow the "rules and laws" of the country, whilst enjoying their lives here in the "world’s happiest country". The remarks were presumed to follow reports of drunken brawling and beer bottle throwing at clubs and bars at the weekend, following which one investor died.

Both Daily Post and Radio Vanuatu News cover visa-free entry to this country, something allowed to many countries. There have been allegations of e-visas being available for VT 5.000 in China, but the Prime Minister’s Office has denied this.

Daily Post lists the manifold management problems confronting the Vila Central Hospital as observed by Minister of Health George Wells. His list begins with staff wages and conditions, overtime, shortages of personnel, posting issues, unpaid overtime, but above all "a lack of proper and efficient management" at the hospital. He has prepared and presented his first paper to the Council of Ministers (CoM) and hopes to see some of the issues being able to be taken up by donor partners.

The Presidents of the Malvatumauri and National Council of Women blame poor management for Vanuatu’s contingent to participate in the 5th Melanesian Arts Festival in Port Moresby starting tomorrow. There was no steering committee formed and the Vanuatu National Cultural Council (VNCC) did not talk about the organizational arrangements, nor even the composition nor size of the Vanuatu delegation, it was reported. There are calls for the Minister for Internal Affairs (Charlot Salwai) to remove the Chair of the VNCC and Director of the Vanuatu Kaljerol Senta.

Vanuatu’s popular cultural performer and leading NGO, Wan Smol Bag, is about to celebrate 25 years of excellence in Vanuatu. Performing for WSB has meant unleashing lots of diverse talent and providing all kinds of community service -beginning with younger persons and taking them through intellectual and sporting pursuits right up to a regular and strenuous clean-up of the Tagabe River. NZ and Australian Aid help them, but they need – and deserve – all the financial help they can get. If you can assist, even in a small way, get in touch with rhinton