Vanuatu daily news digest | 4 October 2014

In an extraordinary manifestation of oddball reporting today both Saturday papers come out with the same page one news lacking any kind of byline and repeating the same thing at great length. It is a rant allegedly by David Russet to insist that he and Messrs Bayer, Kernot and Faivre and their nominations be board members of State-Owned Enterprises. The following are listed – the Reserve Bank, Provident Fund, Investment Promotion Authority and Vanuatu Agriculture Development Bank. Russet, Bayer, Kernot and Faivre "would definitely help these statutory bodies to make better, informed and effective professional decisions," if the government would appoint them, Russet says. Should the whine of the deputy chairman of the Chamber of Commerce not have appeared on the Letters pages? Is the Chamber itself not able to produce its own position paper in this matter? At least we now know what David Russet thinks of government’s so-called inaction to work with the private sector.

Daily Post today also headlines the government getting around 48 – 49 percent of the revenue of the shipping registry in New York, Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited (VMSL). VMSL licenses foreign ships to fly the Vanuatu flag and gets 51% of the revenue. Daily Post carries the earnings figures for the last ten years on its front page. This news is in relation to Prime Minister Natuman suggesting in New York that management of the registry needs to be improved and more ni-Vanuatu employed to work on flagged ships.

The environmental concerns over dust, noise and water from the Entreprise Pierre Brunet concrete mixing plant at Switi, Tagabe, continue. Concerns were first raised by the Lands Minister in 2007 following complaints from residents. Factory management insists the factory’s operations have been mis-interpreted. The Environment Department’s Albert Williams says the best solutions are being negotiated.

The Luganville Mayor supports the nickel smelting project for the Cape de Queiros on his island.

The Acting Public Prosecutor’s contract finishes this week and the courts apparently have a backlog of criminal cases to be adjudicated. A "source" pointed out to The Independent that European funds had been successfully negotiated for a successor to the acting Public Prosecutor, but it seems no action has yet resulted.

From more than 1,000 applicants to join the Vanuatu constabulary, 32 succeeded and passed their tests. Thirteen of the new recruits are women, the highest number to date on a single appointment. Training has been greatly assisted by the Defence Cooperation Programme between Australia and Vanuatu.

Following a National Day flag raising on December 1, the conference of the West Papuan liberation movements’ leaders will start on December 4, says The Independent. It will end on that day says Daily Post, which I am more inclined to believe. Well, at least the papers are now back to not saying exactly the same thing.

Happy Independence Day holiday Monday.