Vanuatu daily news Digest | 14 February 2015

What everyone will be wanting to know today is the result of the Police conspiracy case. You will now have to wait until some time after 30 March. Former Police Commissioner Joshua Bong and "Others Charged" filed an application for a judicial review which the Magistrates’ Court yesterday granted. Daily Post’s Thompon Marango reports the lawyer for Bong and Others (Saling Stevens) questioning the appointment of Christopher Griggs (subsequently terminated) and Acting Prosecutor Timakata’s review of the case file. The judicial review has been adjourned until 27th (February, presumably) to give time to the State Law Office to respond and 30 March is when the Magistrates’ Court will decide on the evidence whether the case should be admitted to the Supreme Court.

Daily Post has an alarming headline today that 15 overseas scholarships have been terminated and 36 suspended, based on academic record (except for one which also involved criminality). Of the 36 suspended, 16 were to study in New Caledonia and 20 in Fiji. Education Director Roy Obed eloquently expressed the Ministry’s disappointment and the wastage in terms of time and money.

In the meantime there is good scholarship news today in that the PNG PM O’Neill promised scholarship places to ni-Vanuatu for this academic year, about to begin in PNG, and arrangements are soon to be finalised. The arrangement was agreed on the margins of the June 2014 Special MSG Leaders’ Summit.

The Shefa Provincial Education Officer has announced an investigation into the finances of some primary and secondary schools in Shefa after allegations of mis-use of what must be school fees. This follows the late opening of Ulei School owing to mis-appropriation, Radio Vanuatu earlier reported. It must surely be a responsibility of the provincial education officers to regularly audit schools’ accounting. Demotions of principals are expected Radio Vanuatu said this morning.

Radio Vanuatu also reported the signing of a code-share agreement this morning between Air Vanuatu, Air Niugini and Solomon Airlines. It will start in June on the routes through Port Vila and Honiara. Air Vanuatu and Solomon Airlines will enable the flights of an Air NiuGuinea Fokker through Vanuatu and the Solomons. There is good cooperation between the airlines, Radio Vanuatu reported this morning.

Agriculture Minister Tosul was pleased to sign an MoU with the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Mechanization Sciences (CAAMS) this week. CAAMS will assist promotion of Vanuatu’s rural productive sector, a loss leader with the Comprehensive Reform Programme. Tosul is quoted in Post saying "The rural population of this island nation has not benefitted from many past developments." China’s CAAMS is standing by to assist, especially in Erromango where they hope to invest. They "have good big plans for a holistic agri/livestock/forestry system" they might set up there, Vanuatu Ministry officials reported.

Another national historical monument has been lost. Post today describes the collapse of the century old Tanna Presbyterian Church after the national PCV authorities failed to find funding to keep this ‘Cathedral of the New Hebrides’ alive. Rust and termites took over.