Political leaders in Tafea province abandon UMP for Prime Minister’s RMC party

Flag of Vanuatu's TAFEA province

Flag of Vanuatu’s TAFEA province

An interesting political development… Tafea Outer Islands leaders until now of the formerly heavyweight grouping of the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) are turning to the Prime Ministers’ Reunification Movement for Change (RMC). They are from Erromango and Aneityum. The decision was taken last week, says Radio Vanuatu, after the court decision relating to eligibility to participate in the Tafea Province elections this coming Thursday. Four provinces are voting this week. In advance of the announcement of the intending candidates to move to PM Salwai’s party, commonly understood to be trying very hard to achieve unity, Leader of the Opposition Ishmael Kalsakau was on Tanna to try to unify the UMP political groupings, some following the former Chairman Serge Vohor and others following a leader chosen when Vohor was convicted in the bribery scandal, Jacques Mariango. The location of the very heart of the so-called moderate parties may well be a factor in the provincial elections. The new RMC politicians will be making a kastom ceremony to announce their stand with PM Charlot Salwai’s RMC. Ballot papers are being distributed starting today to the four provinces going to the polls: Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea.

The Vanuatu Society for Disabled People and the Electoral Office are both campaigning hard for people with disabilities to exercise their constitutional right to vote on Thursday. Everything is being done to ensure their participation is respectfully encouraged.

There continues to be a lack of community care and support for people with mental illnesses. Despite there having been a facility available back in Condominium times, the Senior Psychiatry Registrar at the Vila Central Hospital, Dr Obed Jimmy, says it will be some time before we have a facility for the mentally impaired, very necessary in view of an increasing number of such patients. And he emphasizes that the community as a whole is equally to blame with Government that such a facility is not yet in existence. How right he is. (Daily Post)

The International Day of the Forest tomorrow will be of particular interest owing to its celebration of forests and energy. Of course we are all aware of wood burning being inimical to forest health, but efficient wood and charcoal burning cooking devices are to be a part of displays in all six provinces this year and speeches and panel discussions it is hoped will lead to a better understanding of their best use. There will be activities at Tagabe at the Agriculture Station throughout the day. And you are urged to grab a seedling for your future fuelwood.

The Civil Status (Births, Marriages and Deaths) Office is moving Monday to new premises opposite the VNPF. They will be opening there Tuesday following the move from their Independence Park address adjacent to Home Affairs and TVL’s earth station. Civil Status is going because they need more space.