France submits proposal on Matthew and Hunter islands dispute

Hunter Island. Photo: Wikipedia/Bela34

Hunter Island. Photo: Wikipedia/Bela34

France has recently submitted a proposal for boundary negotiations with Vanuatu. And it adds that “this comes amid signs of a change in the way a long-running boundary dispute between Vanuatu and New Caledonia is negotiated. Vanuatu’s government is reviewing the new French proposal on boundary negotiations.” However, says Johnny Blades of RNZI, Vanuatu remains tight-lipped about whether this advanced protracted negotiation over the tiny islets of Matthew and Hunter. As we all know the two volcanic islets will increase the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country which wins them.

The provincial elections were considered unfair, claim Opposition politicians because the success of certain current government programs such as the RSE scheme were used to boost the chances of Government-side politicians.

Seven political parties have agreed to form the Shefa Provincial Government. Two are Government side parties and five are from the Opposition. That said the principal proposed office bearers are both from the Government side: President Avram Alick of RMC and Vice President Shem Daniel of VP.

Nurses have raised concern about the PSC double standard of salary scales. There were changes between the scales of 2012 and 2015. Proper consultancy process was not followed. The Public Service Commission is treating the issue as a priority, but does not want industrial action to take place. It is working seriously on the questions raised.

Retired teachers are also said to be unhappy with their severance payments. However, they feel the payments have been illegal. The payments are late and made at a rate which has not been accepted. Retired teachers now have an association working on their behalf in connection with such issues.

The takeover of Telecom Vanuatu Limited by Fiji’s ATH is now complete. The new CEO of TVL Divik Deo sees the move as the start of a new chapter in telecommunications in Vanuatu. The company plans to “improve connectivity which will pave the way for sustainable development by bridging the rural/urban and outer island gaps,” said the new company head. The ATH group of companies comprises Telecom and Vodafone Fiji, FINTEL, ATH Kiribati, Datec Fiji and Datec Australia. The Fiji Government owns 35% of ATH. The TVL brand name is to be retained. TVL was previously owned by Mauritius Telecom.

Vanuatu is to get support concerning data about about its airfields from the New Zealand Government. Some nine airports and aerodromes have had their particulars updated to assist international safety and landing information, many of which still only have pre-WWII data on file. The project is a region-wide effort and NZ High Commissioner Roberts has praised the work of local partners such as AVL, Air Vanuatu, CAAV and PWD assisting the project.

Air Vanuatu has announced a review of its fare structure. Advance purchase of tickets and business fares are being considered, as is a frequent-flyer program.

Improving climate change reporting has been the subject of a workshop bringing together journalists from all media. Internews Earth Journalism Network has partnered the Media Association of Vanuatu in the 3-day training exercise.