West Ambrym burns; Indonesian plan to suppress West Papua leaked; où sont les modérés ?

Aftermath of bushfire, west Ambrym

Aftermath of bushfire, west Ambrym. Photo: Tinning Morris

People of West Ambrym are suffering greatly from bush fires which have been running out of control, destroying coconuts and food gardens. An area extending inland to some 5 km in places has been ablaze since early January. The Radio Vanuatu lunchtime news mentioned Loliboulo village as the furthest point inland and some distance from the main road. In various places farmers and families have been managing to keep digging fire breaks to protect some of their garden produce. However, this has often meant enormous difficulty and frequently danger. The NDMO and Red Cross are assisting the people of West Ambrym.

Fire has also been reported in the capital in the steep area between Bellevue and Beverley Hills. People have been advised not to burn along the roadsides in view of the quantity of flammable material as high stands of elephant grass dry out.

Where are the Moderates? A good question which Godwin Ligo tried to answer this morning in Daily Post. Godwin was speaking to “an insider” who was tight lipped on numbers as the present “speculation on numbers” continues. Certainly “les Modérés” see their future with the current Caretaker Government. The insider said “We will be part of the current Caretaker Government but at this point of time, we cannot disclose the numbers.” He said that only the leaders hold the relevant information as regards numbers. He did not make it clear whether the leaders referred to include those in gaol. It will be recalled that there is a dispute presently running as to who is the president of the UMP political party.

Papuan-Action-PlanA Papuan Action Plan of Indonesia’s security services dated March 2014 has been leaked to Australia’s Fairfax Media. The Daily Post front page story says the Indonesian dossier lists the strengths and weaknesses of numerous West Papuans and describes tactics to “suppress the movement” and “divide and fragment opinion” within the Independence movement in West Papua. The Indonesian state intelligence agency imprint appears on the action plan. Daily Post gives adequate coverage. The original secret dossier (in Bahasa Indonesia) can be downloaded here, the English translation version is here and the Sydney Morning Herald article can be read here.

Daily Post today also reveals a plan of the Vanuatu Caretaker Prime Minister’s office to move the PMO to the (obviously failed) Asian tourism venture, the Sky Garden. We have also learned in recent days that this building was acquired by the Vanuatu Institute of Technology and we presumed the purchase was to provide more hospitality / tourism courses. Now one wonders how the PMO has been able to slip into the vacant premises and why the PMO needs demolition. The needs of the courts and CJ are surely more acute.