Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Dissolution of Parl’t a possibility

Dissolution of Parliament remains an option, President Baldwin Lonsdale was reported to have told the media this morning, if a stable government cannot be found to run the country until the elections in 2016. He made the statement following meetings with PM Kilman and leaders of the Opposition side. He encouraged these leaders to find a solution. If the leaders of both sides cannot reach a solution there is still the last option. That is the dissolution of Parliament, the President declared.

The Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs, the Vanuatu Christian Council, the Youth Council and the National Council of Women, have today issued a strong call for peace and justice in the country Radio Vanuatu reported a short while ago. They were determined the Government and Opposition should hear their message in advance of the judgment in the two cases this afternoon – the pardon of the convicted MPs given by one of them and the revocation by the Head of State of the pardons so issued. The Supreme Court will hand down its judgment in Constitutional cases 6 and 7 this afternoon at 3 pm.

In hearings for these matters yesterday, Justice Saksak put it to counsel for Government MPs Vohor, Wright and Jonas James (Colin Leo) that there might have been a conflict of interest in Pipite granting the pardon following his own conviction in the bribery crime. Leo disagreed. Edward Nalyal representing united Opposition MPs Natuman, Lini and Regenvanu claimed the Pipite pardon had to be seen as unconstitutional because it interferes with the course of justice and is unfair because it favours one group of people. Had it been fair, Willie Jimmy MP would also have been pardoned, Nalyal observed.

It was quite a severe earthquake this morning, felt in the capital but located in the vicinity of Santo and Gaua. The Digest believes it was 7.3 on the Richter scale, but without tsunami warning.

Daily Post this morning has tackling climate change as an important element in the UN-Habitat report on developing urban resilience in the capital and surrounding areas of Shefa.

Post also takes Mele village into potato growing following recent successful trials with rice. In view of Tanna having seemingly abandoned potato growing, after years of a closed season on imports, this will be a particularly interesting move.