Caucus group finalizing policies, positions; NZ-Vanuatu relations “strong”; Kilman eats humble pie on Bauerfield

Worearu village, Pele Island, North Efate Vanuatu

Beach near Worearu village, Pele Island. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Niceley

Pele island is where the 11 political parties and 36 elected MPs of the “caucus group” are meeting to develop their Joint Policy Platform. This is intended to delineate significant milestones for periods of achievement of 100 days, a year and their 4-year term in office. As their discussions proceed, the sharing of portfolios is also being decided. Ralph Regenvanu of the GJP grouping has said they will remain on Pele until their work is finished. This suggests they may even remain there until next Thursday when the new Parliament will meet.

Relations between Vanuatu and New Zealand remain strong, Head of State Baldwin Lonsdale emphasized Thursday evening at Waitangi Day celebrations at the residence of NZ High Commissioner Georgina Roberts. He thanked the High Commissioner for New Zealand’s additional assistance after cyclone Pam and for the benefits being received by RSE personnel going to New Zealand for farm work, now at record numbers, over 3,400. High Commissioner Roberts also spoke of a new initiative, the Pacific Broadcasting Initiative which will offer a free-to-air television services to the island countries, Radio Vanuatu reported.

February 28 will be the last day in which the old coinage will be legal tender. 29 February they will no longer be accepted. Radio Vanuatu reported the people of the Torres being concerned at the termination date for old money usage, there being no bank or facility which could offer exchange into the new money. They hoped the Reserve Bank might be able to assist.

Daily Post leads today with the Caretaker Government going out on a commitment of Caretaker PM Kilman to proceed with the March 2015 Bauerfield upgrading. This is the USD59.5 million agreement with the World Bank. Kilman has written to the Bank with the Caretaker Government’s decision to go ahead.

Daily Post also has the defendants in the Pipite premature presidential pardons case seeking the services of a foreign lawyer to defend them. This is one of the conspiracy cases before the courts following on from the bribery case which sees 14 former MPs in gaol.