Vanuatu daily news Digest | 7 March 2015

The ‘waet missus’ cargo cult figure called Debra Burslem, she who allegedly scammed millions out of her Australian Magnificent Meal Movement, gains more column inches than anything else this week. The Independent has her all over pages 1 and 4 and she sounds as much like a spoof as the Betoota Advocate seemingly quite likely made of the scaffolding industry in Queensland going on strike over the alleged kava ban. Not content with scaffolders, Betoota unconfirmed reports also added in NRL football, security personnel and the Mormon Church planning pro-kava activity. The waet missus cargo cult figure seems equally a figment of someone’s animated imagination, possibly that of the Claire Murphy whose 27 paras are quoted in full. No journalist has investigated anything. Not one is prepared to give his by-line to the story. It is what is generally called gossip – not something taught at the Journalism School at INTV. But our profession seems to have shrunk to its lowest and smallest. There were only two applicants for the Journalism School this year when applications closed. This Digest doesn’t give a damn about this Debra.

And this was a week in which good things are happening, and especially for women, as on International Women’s Day, yesterday. The theme for the day was Empowering Women. Nelly Caleb and Helen Tamtam won the International Women’s Day awards. These are a joint initiative of the Lynch and Mataskelekele families and the Australian High Commission. Helping women achieve equal opportunities is the idea, even 20 years after the Beijing conference heard 189 nations make promises in that regard – promises which have still not been honoured, as High Commissioner Bruer pointed out. I hope you will be able to learn more on Nelly’s efforts with the disabled, and Helen’s in promoting teaching reform through use of the lingua franca, in the media in the coming days. Daily Post covered the celebration in today’s paper.

You have not had this blogged news service for two days because there didn’t seem to be a lot of news about. There was a nasty incident of expats threatening ni-Vanuatu with guns and breaking a window of their van. This happened near Devil’s Point.

Malvatumauri President Chief Senimao Tirsupe called on government to recognise the role of chiefs in custom governance, which it subsequently did on National Custom Chiefs’ Day. On Friday, Post reported PM Natuman agreeing to secure financial assistance in next year’s budget, although he is naturally cautious about creating a chiefly dependence on government.

Thursday’s Post also had a letter from a Port Vila resident complaining of the crises at VBTC – its poor reception and the quality of content which has also dropped mightily in recent years as more commercial outlets have been granted licences – by VBTC! The re-appointed GM is urged to send in debt collectors to former Board Members to recover their outstanding debts.

Today’s Post says the VNPF is no longer going to purchase land for the Vanuatu mission in Fiji owing to the change in legislation in that country over land ownership. Which reminds your editor I failed to mention the Post having earlier reported premises at the Stade area being given to the UN agencies needing an office here.

Also today, the Police are being given 7 days notice to settle an account of VT 4 million or vehicles in that company’s possession will be sold.

And further, a Port Vila Vaturisu conference is planned for May 10 – 14 to deal with squatter issues. It will take place on Emau.

Radio Vanuatu this week did mention the difficulties the Public Service Commission had in terminating two directors of Vanuatu Government services in the first two months of this year. Livo Mele, Agriculture, and Albert William, Environment, have both been terminated. They do have the right to a court appeal but there are time limits.

I hope for more interesting reporting next week.