Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 1 September 2015

Sixteen Members of Parliament are in the Supreme Court to answer the charges of bribery tomorrow. Their pleas will be given then. Further investigations are expected according to this week’s Vila Times. Daily Post today has "more MPs may become Prosecution witnesses."

VBTC has signed an intention for a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese equipment supply company. The full MOA is to be signed this month. The move is intended to extend terrestrial TV availability throughout the Vanuatu islands on cell phones. The company will fund and supply all the equipment and programme material needed, VBTC News said yesterday. The project should be completed by May next year. Many will wonder at the overall value of such a service when VBTC technical facilities and Vanuatu’s mobile telephone providers gave such a poor showing at the time of cyclone Pam. Ensuring proper disaster warning and advisory information should surely be considered a greatest responsibility for the national broadcaster.

Head of State Fr Baldwin Lonsdale is pressing for a Vanuatu Christian Council representation in the Electoral College to choose a head of state in future. Such a representative would join the politicians from Parliament and the regional assemblies. The President’s campaign will continue. (VBTC)

Today Radio Vanuatu News is covering the supply of more cyclone-resistant planting material for certain varieties of food crops. This may well be of immense value in future and the Digest will report more later.

Daily Post yesterday reported Education Minister Alfred Carlot promising a monthly increase to teachers’ housing allowances, from VT 15,000 to VT 25,000. This follows a petition of teachers and much more news is bound to result as "illegal salaries" and planned re-structuring are addressed.

Daily Post today details an alleged illegal handling of the IRU agreement between the Government and Interchange, the company operating our cable link. It is said the Government’s Chief Information Office (OGCIO) is improperly selling band width and charges may well have to be increased in future. Ninety days has been allowed for resolution of the problem.

Kenneth Natapei, son of the late Leader of the Opposition, will stand in the by-election to choose a replacement for his father. He will do so as a Vanua’aku Pati candidate.