Govt to reveal position on PACER Plus following briefings, says PM

PM Charlot Salwai… to decide Vanuatu's position on PACER Plus shortly. Photo: Graham Crumb/ (CC BY-SA 3.0)

PM Charlot Salwai… to decide Vanuatu’s position on PACER Plus shortly. Photo: Graham Crumb/ (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai is holding briefings on PACER Plus, the project of the two large neighbours, New Zealand and Australia, to assist island economies. PACER (Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations) Plus is intended to create jobs, raise living standards and encourage sustainable development in the Forum island nations. Until now Vanuatu has been undecided on the matter. However, after some eight years of negotiations the last major discussions were held with representatives of the Forum island countries last week in Christchurch, New Zealand. Today’s news says the Prime Minister sought meetings with parliamentary secretaries and other Ministers. The next meeting will be with MPs and then Government will reveal its position on PACER Plus. (Radio Vanuatu)

Port Vila’s Mayor Ulrich Sumptoh spoke of the high price of local produce when opening the Anambrou local produce market last week. The price of local kaekae has been too high, he said, when margins are added to the price the foods fetch in their islands of production. In future, market prices will be regulated according to the local Efatese price, lower than previously, and as an encouragement to consume the local product rather than imported rice. (Radio Vanuatu)

‘Lagoons’ are being created by Downer New Zealand Limited near Bouffa, under the Port Vila Urban Development Plan. These are reservoirs which are part of a Septage Treatment Facility (STF) which enables liquid taken for treatment to be removed from all kinds of refuse and then to soak away in either pond. The water table at the Bouffa site is known to be over 40 m below ground level. (Daily Post)

Islanders and international explorers have been thrilled to attend the Maewo Women’s Cultural and Arts Festival last week. The key roles of women as ngwotaris – familiar with all the kastom and rules of the island culture – was made known by the women, and celebrated by all attending the festival.The women were always dressed in their kastom woven materials and they baked to local recipes, and danced and sang for the visitors who included members of the Explorers’ Club, based in New York City. Their member Lew Toulmin is well-known here following a previous appointment with the Telecoms Regulator.

Frightful violence is reported on page one of the Daily Post today in headlines “Man attacked wife with hacksaw” and “60-year-old pleads guilty to raping 12-year-old”. Judgements are yet to take place. The stories are taken from Public Prosecution charge sheets. (Daily Post)

A workshop to provide more agribusiness skills has been held on Aneityum. Some 16 farmers were selected and the training took place over three days. The Chamber of Commerce in Port Vila and TVET organised the studies to assist local farmers/business people. Book-keeping and other studies have been encouraged and it is hoped the latest training will benefit the agribusiness-people in their undertakings. (Radio Vanuatu)