“Vanuatu is not free until all of Melanesia is free”—Vanuatu Govt reiterates its support for Papuan independence to MSG leadersPosted: December 22, 2016
“Free West Papua” graffiti on cement walls around town sums up Vanuatu’s Christmas wish for its Melanesian brothers and sisters meeting now in Port Vila. Welcoming independence leaders from the Indonesian ruled territory, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai reiterated Vanuatu’s strong stand in favour of independence for West Papua—and for French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Vanuatu’s stance on decolonization remains as strong as it was during our own independence 36 years ago. West Papua campaigner, Benny Wenda, told Daily Post of the Melanesian spirit which binds the people of Melanesia in their attempt to be granted full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Demonstrations to this effect have been taking place in West Papua and it is reported that one demonstrator was killed and 528 arrested, recently, including six children of less than ten years of age.
It is good news to have 117 successful applicants for Vanuatu Government scholarships. The National Scholarships and Training Board is seeing to it that Vanuatu is fulfilling some of its responsibilities in the area of further education for Ni-Vanuatu and not just leaving it to friend foreign governments. The selection has been made in areas which have not been highly represented in the past, it is reported, such as health, infrastructure, land, climate change and environment. (Daily Post)
A start has been made on the payouts to civil servants owed severance and other final employment payments. All departments and services are affected. Noteworthy are members of the uniformed services, health professionals and teachers for whom there has been considerable support promised. Just over Vt 1 billion will enter the economy with these payments. (Daily Post)
Schools start classes again on February 13 with the new school year. (Daily Post)