Kalsakau brothers resign from Constitutional Review Committee

Dummy spit? Yesterday, Opposition Leader Ishmael Kalsakau was reliably reported by national radio as saying that the Government is seeking to avoid the the full advisory consultation the people deserve on the constitutional changes which the bipartisan Constitutional Review Committee is working on. He also complained that the Government is forcing income tax on people (which is not really true, since all that has happened so far is that it has started a discussion on the topic.) And PACER Plus got a swipe when we have been debating it for over a decade, along with every other Pacific island country.

Today we learn that Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Govt stares down no-confidence vote as six MPs withdraw their signatures from motion

Vanuatu Parliament

Parliament proceeded with business yesterday afternoon and this morning. A motion of no confidence in the government was before it, but 6 MPs who signed it have withdrawn their signatures. The opposition side yesterday claimed it had 31 MPs, before the 6 MPs had a change of heart. The motion will be tabled next Wednesday – if it lasts until then, that is.

There were said to be 39 MPs yesterday supporting the Government plan to deal with the referendum relating to constitutional change. There was one Read the rest of this entry »


Constitutions vital to health of Melanesian democracies, conference learns

Scan of the original Preamble to the Vanuatu Constitution

Scan of the original Preamble to the Vanuatu Constitution

Nine countries were represented at the Pacific Constitutions Research Network which began a searching conference in Port Via this morning. It is the inaugural conference and workshop, bringing legal minds together. Vanuatu has had a great many changes to its Constitution, as we know. But PNG has had even more: many more, as Dr Eric Kwa of the PNG Law Reform Commission told constitutional legislators this morning after the conference was opened by our Ombudsman and former Head of State, Kalkot Mataskelekele. However, Dr Kwa was pleased to point out that the PNG Constitution had held that country together despite the many languages and cultures, political persuasions and various corrupt practices. PNG has had so much need of protection of its core values and the Constitution has provided this. Constitutions are extremely important in Melanesian countries, as we are for ever seeing in Read the rest of this entry »


Case dismissed – bribery ex-MPs attempt to get out of prison fails

The catalyst for political change: The 14 MPs are taken to prison following their convictions in October last year

The catalyst for political change: the 14 MPs are taken to prison following their convictions in October 2015. Photo: TIV

The big news today is that the former MPs, ministers and PM jailed for bribery must remain imprisoned. Their offence was a criminal one. Justice James Geoghegan reminded the court that the Article 27 (2) of the Vanuatu Constitution does not provide MPs with immunity from prosecution. He was also certain that the constitutional provision of 27 (2) was not relevant to the requirement the MPs attend the Magistrates’ Court on what is considered by the MPs legal advisors as the key date in the matter, June 12, 2015. Justice Geoghegan said the primary purpose of 27 (2) is to enable Parliament to attend to its business and MPs to attend sittings. (Daily Post)

The other big news this week was the release of some information concerning the Parliamentary sittings, immediately after we complained that MPs were expected to arrive in the capital without the necessary documentation. We believe MPs must be able to discuss proposed legislation with constituents before parliamentary sittings in order to take their views to the House. This failure on the part of Parliament is compounded when Government is seeking in one of the sittings to introduce a Right to Information Act—which Vanuatu Daily Digest fully supports.

The full details concerning the parliamentary agenda have not been publicised, regrettably, but in brief this is what we are to expect: Read the rest of this entry »


New border treaty signed with Solomon Islands; PM thanks NZ for post-Cyclone Pam assistance

solomon-islands-vanuatu

President Baldwin Lonsdale, Vanuatu PM Charlot Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare are travelling to the Banks Islands today to sign the historical new border treaty with Solomon Islands. The leaders will participate in a cultural festival at Motalava until late today, and Vetande Island is being declared a cultural marine park. Negotiations between the two countries for a border agreement began in 1983 and are being completed according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is the first such agreement for Vanuatu and similar future boundary decisions are Read the rest of this entry »


Happy Constitution Day! Plus–Air Zealand clears Airbus A320s to land; Solomon Islands PM Sogavare on official visit

Kava ceremony at the Vanuatu Constitution signing ceremony, on this day in 1979

Kava ceremony at the Vanuatu Constitution signing ceremony, on this day in 1979

Happy Constitution Day, Vanuatu! President Baldwin Lonsdale has just addressed those attending the annual celebration, reminding them of the necessity of following the Mama Law of Vanuatu which has seen many infringements in the last 12 months by persons elected to represent us. The ceremony takes place in the small square in front of the Port Vila Market where the original document was signed in 1979 (as shown in the image above).

Plus, there is more good news today, Read the rest of this entry »


Constitutional Review Committee reports to Parliament on proposed amendments to Constitution

The Constitutional Review Committee hands over its report: (L to R) Agnes Tari (secretariat, State Law Office), Christine Lahua (secretariat, State Law Office), Ham Bulu (NUP rep), Hon. Edwin Macreveth (Acting Speaker), Hon. Ralph Regenvanu (Chair and GJP rep) and Hon. Johnny Koanapo (Vice-Chair, and VP rep).

The Constitutional Review Committee hands over its report: (L to R) Agnes Tari (secretariat, State Law Office), Christine Lahua (secretariat, State Law Office), Ham Bulu (NUP rep), Hon. Edwin Macreveth (Acting Speaker), Hon. Ralph Regenvanu (Chair and GJP rep) and Hon. Johnny Koanapo (Vice-Chair, and VP rep).

Read the rest of this entry »