Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 9 December 2015

Mark the January national election date as January 22. The Electoral Commission and Caretaker Prime Minister have agreed on the date, Daily Post announces on page 1 today. Interested candidates have begun flocking to the Electoral Office already to collect forms and information. There can be no new registration of voters, but Radio Vanuatu is giving announcements as to the period and means of new card issuance to already registered voters who have lost or filled their cards and need renewal. As of today the election is on 22 January. The Caretaker Opposition challenges the dissolution in court tomorrow, so maybe only mark the election date in pencil.

Post’s big story on 5 December was the VT 230 million payout to ex-MPs in view of the dissolution: their gratuities. The 14 imprisoned MPs also receive part of this amount. Today Post reports the Government lack of VT 390 million to retire public servants. Those informing the Daily Post confirmed that 55 is the retiring age for civil servants but many senior staff were being kept on owing to experience and professional qualifications. The sources agreed that politicians were often behind the push to have certain civil servants removed based on a personal vendetta. However, PSC Chairman John Morrison Willie has stated he would not be pushed to terminate officers without a valid, legal reason. The tax payer might wonder how the Caretaker Council of Ministers could agree to the MP payouts at this time before checking on availability of funds.

Another political issue was raised in this morning’s Radio Vanuatu News, the Prime Minister declaring that the appointment of Samson Samsen to a ministerial post was valid because Samsen’s and the 2 other ministerial appointments took place on the morning before the afternoon dissolution of Parliament. Samsen’s transfer had been discussed with him whilst he was still Deputy Speaker. The SLO had agreed.

113 trainee teachers graduated at VITE, the Vanuatu Institute of Teachers Education yesterday. Education Director Roy Obed warmly congratulated the graduates. "You owe the day to your parents. They were the ones who paved the way and allowed you to be here today," said Obed. He could not promise immediate placements for all, but hoped that one day they would be on the government’s payroll. Lily Wilson is the graduate whose academic achievement was described as the most outstanding. She reminded the graduates to become agents for change. (Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post)

Daily Post has the unions dis-agreeing with the Chamber of Commerce published proposals for leave. The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council, says VCTU Secretary General Ephraim Kalsakau, rejected the same proposals on several occasions previously.

Daily Post reports the passing away of former Vureas High School well respected and much loved principal Fred Tari, 61, on Saturday night at Vila Central Hospital. His body was flown to Ambae for burial at Lolovenue after stopping at Vureas for former colleagues and students to pay their last respects.