Ni-Vanuatu dead, tourists seriously injured in major road accident on Efate

It was a truly horrific accident yesterday. Daily Post this morning had one dead and 14 injured. By lunchtime today Radio Vanuatu News had reported 3 dead. They are a bus driver, a pregnant woman and her baby. A bus with many tourists visiting Ekasup Cultural Village from the cruise ship Pacific Dawn collided with another on the Erakor road. Many of the tourists had multiple fractures and injuries. VCH and ProMedical ambulances made a number of trips to the accident scene. The injured were admitted to the hospital. Three tourists with particularly bad injuries were flown to Nouméa last night and means were being sought to have another six flown to Australia today.

Lands Minister Regenvanu made it clear in a meeting with the press last week that a massive awareness campaign is planned concerning the constitutional changes for around the country in August this year. This will be followed by the planned referendum. The media will be heavily involved in providing information. UNDP and the Commonwealth Secretariat are assisting. The special meeting of MPs called by the PM for 6 June was to have the ideas of all political parties heard by the House so that any last minute alterations could be included in the draft legislation before them for the ordinary sitting. However, the Opposition boycotted the special sitting. The referendum, Vanuatu’s first, will decide the many questions involved. (Daily Post)

The Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Johnny Koanapo was present with Minister Regenvanu for the press conference and made it clear that the constitutional changes are in line with what people indicated they wanted when they voted in the recent snap general election– especially they wanted to see change, he said. The results show it. (Radio Vanuatu)

The Revenue Task Force of government is addressing leaders in ministries and departments concerning the action taken to collect monies owed to government. This is as required under the 100 Day Plan and follows a 2013 government decision to collect all outstanding revenue. The task force has already established that there has been little effort to achieve what was required by the 2013 decision. (Radio Vanuatu)

The World Bank is giving over Vt 5 billion for reconstruction and improvement after Cyclone Pam. Repair and upgrade of roads and schools and public buildings is what the funds are provided for. Half of the funding is a soft loan and the other 50% is a grant. (Radio Vanuatu)

GJP’s President Ralph Regenvanu has pointed out that their runner up in the Malo/Aore election in January will be standing again in the by-election next week. Uri Warawara was only some 60 votes behind the late Havo Molisale (Nagriamel) with nearly 900 votes.

Today is “Plant a Tree Day”. The Forestry Department supports the international idea and encourages all people to plant a tree today. Happy Plant a Tree Day. And do plant one yourself.