Vanuatu daily news Digest | 16 February 2015

The sad news of the weekend was the death of indigenous rights activist Faith Bandler in Australia. She must be the first ni-Vanuatu ever whose family has been offered a state funeral (for her) in that country. She died at the age of 96. Faith Bandler was the child of an Ambrymese black-birded cane cutter and originally known as Ida Lessing Faith Mussing. Her mother had Indian and Scottish blood. Her campaigning was key to the 1967 referendum bringing full citizenship and voting rights to the Australian Aboriginal people. Daily Post carries a report on her lifelong dedication and achievements.

Daily Post today also has Foreign Minister Kilman urging the government to allow the United Development Bank of the Pacific (UDBPL) groundwork for the Bank to set up here. Reserve Bank Governor Simeon Athy and Finance Minister Maki Simelum were praised for their efforts which enabled the ground-breaking for the Bank’s Pacific headquarters last Friday.

Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post have together reported today the presentation of the Deep Sea Mining (DSM) workshop findings organised by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy (PiPP). This workshop took place in October. Dulciana Somare-Brash of PiPP told Minister Regenvanu that "Starting a Dialogue" (the findings report) quite clearly indicates that people want to know more about the effects of DSM and Minister Regenvanu agreed the document will help government develop a framework for further consultation.

Chief James Welles of one of the Vanafo villages has requested the national government to assist with road-making, theirs being amongst the primary sources of kava, water taro, kumala and peanuts for the province, but their road is so badly in need of repair, few can benefit from sales to the town population. For Radio Vanuatu he also listed other areas in which his people lack. Road making there might well be one way for the government to rebuild links with Nagriamel. Luganville road-making equipment should be readily available, so much of the island’s highway having been renewed in recent years.