Vanuatu daily news Digest | 1 March 2015

Sources of political parties’ funding has been one of the topics under discussion this week at the political dialogue between party heads and MPs led by Commonwealth experts and everyone making contributions to a paper by Professor Don Paterson. Government PRO Kiery Manassah told Radio Vanuatu of the various sources of revenue discussed and the possibly propriety of government supporting political parties. That was in yesterday’s news. Today there was mention made of the possibility of electing a Speaker of Parliament who is not an MP, but elected to the post by the people. Manassah pointed out that government wants much greater participation in this political discussion by the people and is urging the general public to consider the issues. Changes to the law could be effected by present parliamentarians, he pointed out, but there are other issues which must have the public’s consideration, and these would go to a referendum. Floor crossing was another of the topics discussed and the meeting found it of interest how islanders from other Melanesian countries deal with the problem.

The Upper Administrative Court in Germany has upheld the ruling of the lower court to lift the ban on kava, Daily Post reports. In 2002 the ban was placed on kava imports to Germany following research by a German institute (BfArM) alleging the custom libation’s responsibility for liver toxicity. BfArM might still appeal, however, Post warns.

Radio Vanuatu News mentioned a new route to Port Moresby through Honiara following the code-sharing agreement between the national airlines of the 3 countries.

Tongoa Education Board comprising school principals and community leaders of Tongoa schools has been meeting to discuss the poor results of the island’s students, and Shefa performance generally, in class 6 results last year. There was no clear indication as to the particular reasons for the unsatisfactory results communicated by Radio Vanuatu News.

Saratamata, Ambae, has a new water supply scheme costing PWD some VT 30 million and covering both the provincial headquarters area and Lolowai. Saratamata land was also under discussion there led by Minister Regenvanu. He was urging people to establish custom ownership so that land could be obtained as state land to enable more provincial projects to take place in the regions and minimise the migration trend to the capital, Radio Vanuatu News reported from Ambae.

Yumi Toktok Stret reports the appalling condition of Port Vila streets after immensely heavy rain such as yesterday, Saturday. Rubble is brought down from the water tanks and the site that used to belong to Radio Vanuatu for its links to the transmitters, at the top of Joint Court. We can now add Independence Park to the places distributing rocks in floodwaters to the main street near the Post Office. And have you seen how yesterday’s torrential rain tore up the coal tar at the southern end of Unelco?

The Independent continues to report senior police persons whether suspended, or stood down or on leave giving their views on what is going on in the force.

The Independent does also, however, report the visit of the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, calling on the Acting DG of the MSG, Molean Kilepak, here, assisted by her international adviser on regional issues, Anna Naupa. Both organisations are pursuing a strong partnership through an MoU.

Vanuatu Times covers the Efate Island Court declaration of the custom ownership of the land title G57 covering Sumalapa, Tebakor, Manples and the Federation areas. And they also have their say in senior police matters.

Daily Post reports the expatriate Eilon Mass being arrested and kept in custody following a campaign mounted by fellow expatriate Ronan Harvey against him in social media from afar. A teenage girl is the alleged victim in the matter which was not reported for investigation until a week ago. The rape is supposed to have happened in July.

Post also reports the huge costs involved with the Geothermal exploration at North Efate. A lengthy study looks into how huge costs have affected the share price of Geodynamics, the company conducting the testing of the thermal site.

Efate cattle farmers are meeting Tuesday, 9 am at the Livestock meeting room at Tagabe to discuss a census of cattle. Small farmers are encouraged to attend along with the holders of large ranches. The many and varied problems within the industry will be discussed. The ministerial policy to re-introduce training and the role of field assistants will be of great interest to all and a reason why Joe Ernst is hoping for a large attendance, Post reports.

Post also reports "Sanma chiefs" wanting both Chand and Sakita out of Niscol as the dispute takes on the proportions of Ronan Harvey v Eilon Mass.