Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 2 November 2015

Two big news items today: – 1. high ranking chiefs from all provinces meeting with the Head of State who is also a highest ranking chief from Torba. As such he carries the title Womtelo. The chiefs say their main concern is the Government, which is their government as leaders of their communities, and when their leaders of the country and government are in a state of disturbance something has to be done to right the wrongs. Whilst the Malvatumauri has never enjoyed an "upper house" status, the founding fathers, in writing the Constitution of the Republic, were determined it should hold a responsible position in the national character and it merits a position before that of the Head of State in the Constitution.

2. Also of major concern is the burning down of Vila Handprints and Cost Less with the loss of everything contained in the shop-fronted warehouse opposite the Au Bon Marché supermarket at Nambatu. The regular fire truck was not working and the Police fire service arrived after the entire building was engulfed in flames. The airport fire truck had to be brought into service from the other side of town. The Police Service Commission suspended 2 senior officers recently for failure to attend a VIP departure ceremony at the airport. With the Fire Service run by the Police (albeit greatly assisted with equipment provision from friend countries) there surely needs to be a proper assessment of this aspect of the Commission’s duties.

In the really good news department is the arrival of the barge of Sam Bell in the capital for a re-fit after servicing the clean water needs of the Shepherds since the beginning of the El Nino season. Wita Aid’s water barge is capable of de-salinating sea water to generate 20,000 litres of clean water from the ocean daily. It is to be hoped the Bells’ charitable relief organisation is able to obtain further sponsorship from wealthy businesses in Port Vila.