National week of mourning declared to mark the passing of President LonsdalePosted: June 18, 2017
A National Week of Mourning has been declared from the 17th until the 26th of June following the sudden and unexpected death of Head of State Fr Baldwin Lonsdale. Details for his State Funeral have now been released. A public holiday has been declared for Wednesday 21st June. The President’s body will lie in state at State House on Monday and Tuesday and there is a program for institutions and organisations to visit and share their condolences. On Wednesday morning, the church funeral service will be held at Parliament House and at midday on Wednesday the President’s body will leave Port Vila and be flown to his final resting place at Sola in the Banks Islands.
Vanuatu’s Red Cross President and first Head of State, Ati George Sokomanu, has expressed his sadness at the passing of President Lonsdale, telling Radio Vanuatu listeners of the huge contribution made by Fr Baldwin Lonsdale during Cyclone Pam in 2015. President Lonsdale was taking part in the world conference on disasters in Japan, and at that time he made an appeal for assistance to the other leaders present, an appeal which was generously supported.
In other news:
Vanuatu’s new Police Commissioner signed a new contract with the Police Service Commission as his employer yesterday. Executive members of the Vanuatu Police Force and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission witnessed. The Chairman of the Commission, Willie Vira, decided on such an informational process to try to get away from previous practices which have led to allegations of political and other interference by heads of the services of law and order. The new Commissioner was pleased to have transparency involved with his appointment. And a similar process will be involved with future such appointments. The contract is for 5 years.
Vanuatu’s Agriculture Minister, Matai Seremiah, is another world leader committed to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. He made this clear recently before the UN Oceans Conference in New York. He said Vanuatu supports the Call for Action of the conference. “Engaging in genuine, durable partnerships that facilitate means of implementation, technology transfer, capacity building and knowledge sharing will enable countries such as Vanuatu to remain on track to conserve sustainable use of the ocean and to play their part in reversing the decline in the oceans,” he said. He did not mince his words. He also pointed out the historical imperative – that “we have a shared responsibility to ensure that the ocean will continue to be the dwelling place of our future generations as it has been for our forefathers.” (Daily Post)
One of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements for Vanuatu legislation needed improvements in the Central Firearms Registry over which Minister Maoh admitted there were concerns because of the likelihood of unregistered items. This is seen with seasonal workers returning to Vanuatu with arms for hunting without appropriate firearm registration. (Daily Post)