Chinese bidder CCECC awarded Bauerfield International airport upgrade contract

Port Vila's Bauerfield international airport

The Bauerfield runway upgrades go to CCECC: it’s official. There had been disagreements between the World Bank and Government, but the World Bank is happy the processes have now followed the appropriate procurement procedures. It adds “the good news now is that all bidders have been formally notified of the completion of the evaluation process, with contract negotiations to be scheduled by the government in thew coming days.” CCECC is well-known in Vanuatu for a number of big projects, from roads to the new Korman sports facilities being constructed for the Mini Games. (Daily Post)

The Bauerfield runway repair delay is holding up the codesharing agreement with Qantas, it seems. Air Vanuatu CEO Joseph Laloyer says the codesharing Read the rest of this entry »

Results of provincial elections available by Wednesday 29 March

The unofficial provincial election results provide no startling information at this stage — but official results will be available by Wednesday 29 March. Recounting of provincial election votes collected close to Vila (from Efate and Offshore Islands) is currently taking place. For the other provinces, counting  Read the rest of this entry »

Drones planned to deliver vital medical supplies to remote islands

A new project will enable remote areas to receive urgently needed medical supplies by drone, the remote controlled pilotless aircraft. UNICEF is working with Government to make the project a reality for the small island developing countries. A previous trial in Malawi in Africa has already proven successful and the approach is now being trialled in Vanuatu.

President Lonsdale has spoken out on the international stage for much stronger action against climate change. Pres. Lonsdale, speaking as the leader of a small island developing state (SIDS), says “climate change is real and devastating my nation. As a long-time leader at the national level, I can confirm that Read the rest of this entry »

Court rules in favour of Vohor faction of UMP as provincial election campaigns close

A number of interesting stories are before us at the start of this election week, not all to do with the four provinces voting Thursday. However, the court ruling over UMP’s factional dispute is now out in print and a victory in every way for good governance and the State, which here amounts to the Electoral Commission and Department. The Jacques Meriango faction had Friday morning sought a Read the rest of this entry »

Chief Justice Lunabek appeals to Govt to build new Hall of Justice

Chief Justice of Vanuatu, Vincent Lunabek. File photo.

Chief Justice of Vanuatu, Vincent Lunabek. File photo.

Chief Justice Lunabek  has reminded Government that 10 years have passed without a replacement for the Supreme Court building, destroyed in an arson attack in 2007. He points out that providing a new Hall of Justice for Vanuatu is the Government’s responsibility. The only activity of Government in the preceding decade has been the provision of the inappropriate ex-British Works headquarters, the Dumbea Centre, for holding court. That, and the appointment of a committee which has achieved nothing. Governments have been able to obtain support for a vastly underused international convention centre, and the present administration seems to Read the rest of this entry »

Women to get reserved seats in Parliament via planned Constitutional Amendment; structure of govt up for review

Collage based on images by Graham Crumb/

Collage based on images by Graham Crumb/

Read the rest of this entry »

Election petition against PM Kilman struck out

The electoral petitions made by Willie Jimmy and Daniel Molisa against the 2012 election of Prime Minister Sato Kilman have been struck out in Vanuatu’s Supreme Court this morning.

Justice Robert Spear delivered a statement on the case rather than the judgement itself to prevent inaccurate media reports. It was a packed courtroom at Dumbea Hall.

Justice Spear’s statement began by saying that the hearing on 28 and 29 January did not address whether Kilman was or was not eligible. Rather, it dealt with whether the petition could be amended to correct a mistake concerning ineligibility in the first place, and then, whether the petitioners were entitled to present their petition.

Amendment of the petition was allowed by the Court and involved the petitioners’ claims as regards Kilman’s alleged debts to government. The petition was allowed to be amended to give the correct section of the Representation of the People Act.

In regards to the standing of the petitioners, Justice Spear says “Section 55 of the Act carefully states who is entitled to present an election petition. The Court found that this restricts petitioners to those registered to vote in the election in the particular constituency to which the challenged election of an individual occurred. Alternatively, where the petitioner had also been a candidate in that particular election.”

“Neither petitioner in this case, Mr Jimmy or Mr Molisa, met those eligibility criteria prescribed by S.55 of the Act. Neither petitioner was registered to vote in Malekula constituency at the time of the 2012 general election, and neither had stood for election in that constituency. The petitions have accordingly been struck out.”

This appears to have been the first time that this Court has had to consider this particular question of eligibility to  petition under Section 55. Essentially, Justice Spear’s statement means that a person’s election for Parliament can only be challenged by an election petition to the Court if that petitioner was registered to vote in the particular constituency in question for that election, or if the petitioner had stood as a candidate in that election.