Kastom and criminal justice in the spotlight; Pediatrician cautions parents over outbreak

The six men convicted of abduction on Tanna last month. Photo: Supplied

The six men convicted of abduction on Tanna last month. Photo: Supplied

The boundaries of kastom governance are discussed by Dr Miranda Forsyth in this weekend’s Daily Post after Chief Justice Lunabek giving his opinion that a chief on Tanna should be prosecuted for his role in the abduction of two Tannese men from Tanna Lodge last year. Six men were convicted and sentenced. Dr Forsyth (formerly of USP Emalus and presently of the Australian National University, Canberra) highlights the tensions existing between traditional kastom governance in Vanuatu villages and the Vanuatu criminal justice system inherited at Independence.

An outbreak of a diarrhoeal illness has caused the loss of one child’s life and placed many in hospitals. One out of every five children seen at Vila Base Hospital has had to be admitted and over 100 have been seen and treated since the outbreak started three weeks ago, Dr Annette Garae, head pediatrician at Vila Central Hospital told Daily Post. The current diarrhoea outbreak is accompanied by vomiting. Bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting three times a day or more need attention from professional health or medical officers, said Dr Garae.

Government’s Vt400 million soft loan to Air Vanuatu is reported by Air Vanuatu CEO Laloyer to be for expenses on the fleet of larger planes. The loan is associated with the return of the Boeing B737 which had been leased by the airline and the leasing of the new B737 and maintenance of the two ATR72 engines. Preparing the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) report due August and the relocation of many facilities to the airport, as well as new personnel expenses, will likely make considerable use of the loan. Laloyer points out the good prospects for the airline now that the tourism marketing endeavours are likely to boost traveller numbers. (Daily Post)

Former National Archivist Anne Naupa gave a call for the digital preservation of the country’s archives in an address for International Archives Day on Thursday. She pointed out to those attending the official function that Vanuatu belongs to the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme and that Chief Roimata’s Domain had achieved placement in that register. Bernard Deacon’s 1926 anthropological observations on Malekula are also registered there. Naupa urged that first and foremost there needs to be documentation and digitisation of Vanuatu’s oral history.

The Vanuatu National Provident Fund is advertising for sale its properties, Beleru on Santo and Bouffa, near Montmartre, Port Vila. These plantations (of 854 and 554 hectares respectively) were acquired by an earlier Fund management in controversial circumstances and resulted in heavy criticism from Fund members.