PM Salwai sacks board of national broadcaster; new Cyclone Pam documentary released

Haos i foldaon woman i stamp documentary film

PM Charlot Salwai has terminated the board of the national broadcaster VBTC, after meeting with the previous board to hear their reasons for the long delay in re-establishing the VBTC’s transmitter network. Johnety Jerety from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade is now chairman of the board. Newly appointed board members are Jennifer Kausei, Transparency International Vanuatu CEO, Wilson Toa, Gratien Tiona, journalist with The Independent newspaper, journalist Aristide Meltecoin, former VBTC marketing officer Alex Steven and former Greens Confederation politician Iarris Naunun.

The level of information concerning service giving has certainly improved with the arrival of a government determined information should flow freely. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas has spoken out concerning deficiencies in the public services of VBTC, the national broadcaster, especially the physical extent of its reach. This is a topic previously taken up by senior media personnel in Daily Post. The daily newspaper has been the major provider of news on an increasing basis, but it lacks the reach-all network provided by VBTC’s short wave.

VBTC is today hitting back at Daily Post which has been giving considerable column inches to the Leader of the Opposition, always ready to fill them. Today the Opposition’s Kalsakau has hit out – in Daily Post – at the Mayor of Port Vila, stating that the Mayor is not paying the monthly allowances of Opposition side councillors: “The way the council is depriving Opposition councillors of their Special Duty Allowance is illegal and it is a maladministration practice of the council which brings disrepute and discredits this high office,” says Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau in Post today. The deprivation is alleged to have started around six months ago. Kalsakau calls on Mayor Sumptoh to resign. However, Town Clerk Ronald Sandy says through Radio Vanuatu noon news that every allegation made is wrong and that the Opposition should check its facts, as should Daily Post. There has been no complaint to the Town Clerk concerning missing duty allowances, nor to the Ministry, says Sandy.

VBTC also tells us today of a documentary film made by Red Cross concerning women’s role in the Cyclone Pam recovery period. Haos i foldaon: Woman i stanap was made for International Women’s Day just passed. It will be screened in Saralana Park next Monday at 5:30pm. More details on their Facebook page.

With the increasing awareness of the media by both Government and Opposition this year, now we are seeing visits by both Government and Opposition to what each have had a role to play in – the Convention Centre site, hosted, of course, by a Chinese diplomat. PM Salwai was concerned as to how the Convention Centre would be run and to its maintenance. He is pleased with work planned by the Chinese Embassy for the renovated PMO and for Malapoa College and the Stadium for the Pacific Mini Games next year.

And this is a year in which we might see a Freedom of Information Bill.