Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 7 November 2015

There are some six appeals over the Bribery Case and the Appeals Court begins to meet Monday, firstly to decide on the order of hearings. There is no indication as to how early the bribery appeals may be considered.

Meanwhile the minority government’s leader, PM Kilman, has stated that he has asked the President to dissolve Parliament. However, he wants those convicted who are appealing against the judgement or sentencing of them in the Bribery Case to have their appeals heard first of all. Kilman also finds his government’s draft budget "is not reflective of the Nation’s priorities and the Government’s policies and wants the Budget amended to cater for the needs of the country." (Daily Post) He therefore sees it possible to debate the Budget early next year.

For its part, the Opposition now reports a readiness to participate in a Government of National Unity (GNU) as was suggested exactly a week ago. In order for the GNU to be properly and proportionally representative, the Opposition points out, the Government having 13 MPs and the Opposition 25 dictates 9 of the 14 positions (13 ministries and Speaker) should go to the present Opposition. Five would go to the present Government. This would also reflect the eight parties in Opposition and six in Government. This is the Opposition’s proposal to the Prime Minister.

Unfortunately most of the news space and time recently has had to be given over to bribery and corruption matters and the fallout therefrom. There are, however, interesting and beneficial things happening, from Unelco reassuring over drinking water in the capital whilst there is so much concern for water everywhere … to work proceeding in the Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project (VTIP). This has seen acquisition of the Port Vila Seafront petanque court and envisages a walkway along the seafront all the way from the market place to Fatumauru Bay.The Port Vila Urban Development Project is also going to see a lot of work in just a few months on the Kalsakau Drive.

The Digest had to take a day off yesterday for various reasons. But there were no major conflagrations to report. There never were two Cost Less fires I must admit or add, the first being where Cost Less had been for many years and the second on the other side of town where it was – at least until a few days ago. To get all the news in detail, buy all the papers and listen to – and watch – the national broadcaster, VBTC. And it’s back on the air again. It hasn’t yet paid off all of its obligation to Unelco, for which it gets a grant each year, but that brings us back to Budget natters. Anyway, it is trying to do so.

Gud wiken.