National week of mourning declared to mark the passing of President Lonsdale

President Baldwin Lonsdale

The late President Father Baldwin Lonsdale

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 Read the rest of this entry »


Non-compliant offshore financial centre puts other Vanuatu businesses at risk – but costs of compliance are high

Money laundering Vanuatu

Between Vt1.8B—Vt4.5B in proceeds of foreign crimes are laundered through Vanuatu’s offshore financial system every year, it is estimated. The non-implementation of checks against money laundering by Vanuatu’s offshore financial centre may prevent other Vanuatu small businesses from accessing foreign currency transactions – but Vanuatu lacks the resources to put the checks in place.

Vanuatu, accused of inaction over money laundering, is facing international sanctions as its politicians debate whether to spend government funds to fix the country’s financial services or to deal with disaster reconstruction.

Vanuatu, home to 270,000 people, has a 25-year-old offshore financial centre offering banking and company-creation services that provide well-paid employment in its capital, Port Vila. For the disaster-prone nation, the financial sector is a crucial part of its economy, contributing between two and three percentage points to gross domestic product.

In September the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental group that combats money laundering and terrorist financing, warned of “strategic deficiencies in Vanuatu’s anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism system.”

The group called for an action plan including Read the rest of this entry »