Campaign to ban plastic bags gains momentum

no plastic bags for vanuatu campaign

Best of all news presently: the petition to phase out the use of single-use plastic bags in Vanuatu. Congratulations Georges Cumbo, Christelle Thieffry, Myriam Malao and Marcel Melterorong for creating a Facebook page to educate users about the environmental effects of plastic bags. The No plastik bag plis page on Facebook now has 3,600 followers. Please sign the online petition.

The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering has been quite firm about the 13 Bills before the First Extra-Ordinary Sitting of Parliament which deal with money laundering. Equally positive have been the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. The passage of these Bills prevents us going on to the FATF Black List or Dark Grey list. The intergovernmental body founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to combat money laundering has expanded its activities to try to better combat terrorism financing. A miniscule nation like Vanuatu, already on the Grey List, does well to heed the demands of FATF. There are 31 Bills to be passed and they need to be passed and gazetted by 19 June next week. The Prime Minister said that if Vanuatu was to be blacklisted or placed on the Dark Grey List the whole country would face “serious financial and economic impacts and the people will suffer from it.”

Opposition Leader Ishmael Kalsakau as a former Attorney General was also supportive of getting the FATF legislation enacted without delay. “I share the concerns of PM Salwai: it is important that we work together,” he said.

The Finance and Justice Ministers have expressed support for the establishment of the task forces which will deal with the corruption reports government has received from CoIs into VNPF mismanagement and misappropriation of large amounts of the European Development Fund finances. They were responsive to Port Vila MP Kalo Seule’s concern that there had not been any action on the CoI findings. Finance Minister Pikioune, however, was able to confirm to Parliamentarians that task forces would be set up as soon as the Parliament sitting was finished, all in accordance with the wishes of the Council of Ministers.

Ownership of Efate’s Malarua Quarry shows the Minister of Lands and MPs quite clearly that there is a dispute where the Emua people are concerned. And it also means there must and will be further court action before anything can be resolved. One case has not even been heard yet. Minister Regenvanu said “The disputing parties’ failure to agree has left the Government with no choice but to proceed to acquire.” Let’s hope for a happy ending here and soon.