Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 6 May 2015

The Public Relations Officer of the Vanuatu Government, Kiery Manassah, has been further explaining though Radio Vanuatu the need for the involvement of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in relief operations following complaints from individuals and groups declaring their interests have not been properly considered. Manassah pointed out some of the the top priority interests which always have to be considered first, whether or not NGOs have alternative priorities. These might include schools, clinics and roads, he said. Cyclone Pam, PM Natuman says "has taught us and our relief partners and NGOs various lessons. Amendments to the Natural Disaster Strategy Act will ensure better control in future and that donors will receive all appropriate reporting." The PM was particularly grateful for the cash relief provided by the Melanesian neighbours. And also the relief of partners and the NGOs. "Every assistance must have some control and be properly reported," the PRO said

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme SPREP has prepared a long-term environmental recovery strategy for Vanuatu to help re-build the country after Pam. A team was sent for a rapid assessment survey and the results have been presented. The key environmental aspects affected are reefs, mangroves and tropical forests, especially in Tafea and Shefa. However, water supplies and fishery breeding areas are also covered.

Queensland University of Technology has raised an amazing VT 6 million towards cyclone Pam relief.

A huge Thompson tent which can accommodate over a hundred people has been donated by the family which makes such tents. It has been set up on Mataso. The family was moved by the television film of devastation in the Shepherds which they had seen. Daily Post carries photos of the tent and its placement on Mataso.

Constitutionally important issues will be decided in the coming days by the justices of the Appeal Court in Vanuatu. This follows the hearing last week in the appeal of the Speaker of Parliament against the judgement of Justice Oliver Saksak which was in favour of the sixteen Members of Parliament who had been suspended. That case was heard as Carcasses v Boedoro [2014] VUSC 155; Constitutional Case 10 of 2014. The questions concern the powers of Parliament itself, and not just the Speaker, Daily Post reports. The justices of the Appeal Court were concerned to establish whether the majority in Parliament could thus be given "absolute" powers. It was foreseen that such means might then always be used by the majority to force their will on the minority. The judges will be considering whether Opposition MPs would have been facing double jeopardy had the suspension been maintained.

The Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Kanam Wilson, has questioned whether the Auditor General can investigate money used by Members of Parliament as their MP allocation can be audited. It is indeed public money, he stated and VBTC News reported. The Auditor General agreed, but reminded hearers of the budgetary limitations of his office in trying to fully comply with financial regulations.

John Lum MP of Nagriamel has been appointed Minister for Youth Development and Sport by the PM. He replaces MP Don Ken whom the PM thanked for his support. The re-shuffle was suggested by National United Party President, and DPM, Ham Lini and the "G13 group" (???). MP Ken becomes Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Public Policy formerly held by Lum.