Canoe Festival for Luganville; Cyclone Pam recovery, climate change on EU/NZ agenda

Sailing canoes on Havannah Harbour, 1891. Photo: JW Lindt

Self-sufficient: Sailing canoes on Havannah Harbour, 1891. Photo: JW Lindt

Cultural news which will please many is Luganville’s first traditional Canoe Festival which will again see the use of canoes with sails. It will take place at the time of the Independence celebrations (25–31 July) helping to promote kastom, tourism and national identity. (Daily Post)

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, is meeting with government leaders today to discuss TC Pam recovery, development co-operation and climate change. He is travelling with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully who sees the mission to island countries with which the EU and NZ have a close working relationship as “an opportunity to take stock of what we have achieved and look for new areas of cooperation.” They will visit the Vanuatu Agricultural Research and Technical Centre (VARTC) and look at the tourism potential of the northern island. (Daily Post)

Air Vanuatu’s reform programme is being assisted by the government. Finance Minister Pikioune signed an agreement yesterday with Air Vanuatu’s CEO Laloyer to release a loan of Vt 190 million to settle current accounts and another for Vt 233 million will come once the government is satisfied with the proposed reform plans, Radio Vanuatu News informed listeners this morning. Daily Post added that the government applauds the national airline’s board and officials for making sure the airport runway crisis was resolved.

Torres Islands’ people are happy with the level of shipping which now reaches their islands. They have useful ship arrivals every month. Previously they were only visited once or twice a year for copra pickup, freight and passengers. M.V. Kowali receives a government subsidy to provide the services it does. (Radio Vanuatu)

With Parliament meeting next week, there is now a Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sports. He is MP Seule Simeon from Epi. He comes from the new UMP grouping led by Jacques Nauka. (Daily Post)

Prominent Santo businessman Jeannot Sese wants government to block certain foreign food imports on which local people depend more and more. He said sales of imports like rice and noodles are exceeding those of local market produce. He made the comment as public health officials were bringing NCD awareness to people in the northern town. (Radio Vanuatu)

The Vanuatu Cultural Centre (VKS) Director Asal Lazaire has written to the Chair of the Vanuatu National Cultural Council insisting his contract be formalised within the coming days, reports Daily Post. He is one of those VKS personnel seriously inconvenienced by the political moves of the previous ministry responsible for cultural affairs.