Public urged to report Vietnamese ‘blue boats’ illegally fishing in Vanuatu territorial watersPosted: January 30, 2017
Vietnamese ‘blue boats’ illegally fishing in our exclusive economic zone are a threat to Vanuatu’s environment and food security. Fisheries Director Kalo Pakoa asks the public to call the Vanuatu Mobile Force’s Maritime Base on 22860 to report any sightings of ‘blue boats’, so named for their distinctive hue. They are not fitted with automatic identification systems, as is the case with vessels licenced to fish in our waters, so are difficult to track. Three such vessels’ captains have been prosecuted recently in New Caledonia and their catch seized by the French Navy, but they subsequently escaped custody in Nouméa harbour.
The Vanuatu Government is taking over responsibility for the Village Health Workers’ Program, funded by Australia through NGO Save the Children Australia (SCA) since 1998. The 200-plus personnel of the SCA clinics will become Government employees. Australian High Commissioner Jenny Da Rin assured Health Minister Jerome Ludvaune at the Friday handover ceremony for the program that Australia will remain an active partner in Vanuatu’s health sector through support to the medical workforce, improvements to the health information system and work to increase immunisation rates. High Commissioner Da Rin also spoke of continuing assistance to rebuild cyclone-damaged healthcare facilities.
The Public Service Commission is reviewing the civil service staff manual. The new rule book will launch in April. The new manual will contain many change, Public Service Commissioner Martin Mahe told Radio Vanuatu. One area he referred to in particular was housing. He pointed out the differential between rates for housing for those housed privately and those occupying Government accommodation where only 12% of salary is charged regardless of whether the house is small or of two or 3 bedrooms. A rent increase will assist Government with repair of the public service staff houses.
Government intends to complete all provincial public consultations on the possible introduction of an income tax during 2017. Consultation team member, Tanna MP Andrew Napuat, says Government expects to find a wide range of opinions. He was at pains to point out that no decision on new taxation measures had yet been made by Government, as community consultations were not complete.