Vanuatu opens new Hong Kong consulate to strengthen commercial, diplomatic ties

Vanuatu's new Hong Kong consulate is intended to help build commercial ties between Vanuatu and Hong Kong

Vanuatu’s new Hong Kong consulate is intended to help build commercial ties between Vanuatu and Hong Kong. Photo: supplied

Vanuatu consulate opens in Hong Kong. PM Salwai was in Hong Kong for the event, together with Foreign Minister Leingkon and Vanuatu’s new Consul General, Andrew Leong. The three Vanuatu personalities jointly cut the ribbon for the opening of the consulate.

The Vanuatu Permanent Residence Programme was launched in Hong Kong in 2011, and Minister Leingkon said the success of the program is Read the rest of this entry »

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Response from Vanuatu Registry Services Ltd to the PM’s statement on CIIP in Parliament

It is a sad day when Vanuatu’s Prime Minister resorts to the privilege afforded to statements made in Parliament to repeat a defamatory statement made by “others”.

The allegation that “… the monies have been retained by the agent, presently seeking judgement against the government through court hearings, have been moved to Caribbean tax havens, others reveal” is wholly and utterly Read the rest of this entry »


March planned to support West Papua’s full membership of MSG; Virgin Australia likely to resume Port Vila flights

West Papuans in Jayapura yesterday protesting for full membership of MSG. Photo: Tabloid Jubi

Soon to be joined by protests in Port Vila: West Papuans in Jayapura yesterday protesting for full membership of MSG. Photo: Tabloid Jubi

Friday 29 April will see a demonstration march through town, from Fatumauru Bay to the MSG Secretariat at Independence Park. It will be a civil society event, Chairman of the West Papua Assn., Pastor Allan Nafuki, told Daily Post. The peaceful demonstration is to demand the MSG Leaders give full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to the people of West Papua in the Leaders’ summit planned for 3rd May here, hosted by the Vanuatu Government. This follows mass demonstrations in cities and towns across West Papua in support of West Papua’s full membership of MSG, and in opposition to Indonesia’s attempts through Fiji and PNG to gain membership.

The people of West Papua want full membership of MSG. Photo: Supplied

Some of the protestors in Jayapura yesterday. Photo: Supplied

This banner at yesterday's Jayapura protest makes the West Papuan's demands clear. Photo: Tabloid Jubi

This banner at yesterday’s Jayapura protest makes the West Papuan’s demands clear. Photo: Tabloid Jubi

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Video: 挑戰 第8集, The Hongkongers vs. the volcanoes of Ambrym

It’s Sunday afternoon, so it’s time for another outside perspective of Vanuatu, this week courtesy of Hong Kong Television Network’s ‘reality’ program ‘The Challenge‘ (‘挑戰’ in Cantonese).

In the program, a pair of HK TV presenters explore Ambrym’s volcanoes and ash plain, and get to enjoy some local hospitality (plus some giaman, made-for-TV kastom)!

The video is unsubtitled, so we’re not sure Google Translate quite nails it, but here’s Google’s translation of the show’s description:

“twelve television film crew arrived in Ambrym volcano island wildest airport, take the broken truck deep nearest active volcano tribes, tribal life experience the volcano, the locals enjoy traditional food Lap Lap, during is more mistake to break forbidden tribe, narrowly escaped attack, and finally get clan elders of the understanding of Heaven through black magic ritual, the elders also sent film crew to assist tribe to challenge volcano task deeply feel the spirit of helpful volcano nation.”

Thanks, volcano nation 瓦努阿圖!


Is dual citizenship a threat to Vanuatu? No, but unregulated political financing is

By Anna Naupa and Nick Howlett

Part 3 of a 3-part series on Vanuatu’s Electoral Integrity

< Read Part 1: ‘Ghostbusters: it’s time to deal with Vanuatu’s phantom voters’

< Read Part 2: ‘Is diversity of political representation possible in Vanuatu?’

 

Vanuatu passportThis month marks the two-year anniversary of the constitutional amendment to permit dual citizenship in Vanuatu.

In the run-up to the 2016 General Election, some political campaigns have cast dual citizenship as a threat to Vanuatu, and have questioned whether this policy risks political domination by foreigners.

But is Vanuatu’s democracy really at risk of being dominated by foreigners acquiring dual citizenship? The short answer is no. However, when it comes to the financing of political candidates and parties in Vanuatu, foreign involvement in politics is completely Read the rest of this entry »


Documents reveal 1975 plans for military suppression of New Hebrides independence movement

Declassified documents from the Anglo-French Condominium have revealed that Britain and France made plans to use military force in 1975 to suppress the indigenous independence movement, says Radio New Zealand International.

“Colonial officials wanted to stop what they thought might become a revolution to overthrow white supremacy”, reports RNZI.

Says the RNZI’s reporter Ben Lowings in London:

In 1975, a British Black Power activist, Roosevelt Brown, was holed up with his supporters in the Vanuatu national party on the northern island of Aoba. British colonial officials had at first let him into the country believing him to be a United Nations employee on holiday. They soon changed their minds, considering him a subversive, who was likely to resist their attempts to arrest him… The Ministry of Defence in London drew up detailed plans to despatch a warship, a landing party, transport planes and soldiers from Hong Kong. But officials were worried about whether Indonesia and the Philippines would allow the use of their airspace. They also feared French forces in Vanuatu had equipment incompatible with the British military. It was also suspected that the French were much more eager to use lethal force.”


Vanuatu daily news digest | 11 February 2013

Last year over 600 people from China or Hong Kong people achieved special investor status and now do not need a work permit to work in Vanuatu, Port Vila MP Ralph Regenvanu points out on VBTC News this morning. He questions the set-up of the Hong Kong Permanent Residence Visa scheme by VFSC and VIPA. If such people are awarded permanent residence status by Government, says Regenvanu, they could enter Vanuatu to work in shops and on building sites as they won’t need a work permit for any category of employment. Employment in stores and on building sites has previously been reserved for ni-Vanuatu. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Toara Daniel, signed an order in January permitting such work-permit-free employment, and backdated it by more than a year. MP Regenvanu questions why, when the Hong Kong Investment Programme was launched by the Government, was it was not explained that anyone could come and work in Vanuatu, said Regenvanu? The DG of Internal Affairs, George Bogiri (who we thought had been asked to resign by his Minister) said the program was set up because the Prime Minister wanted to raise more revenue due to an expected budgetary shortfall. “What do you really want?” Regenvanu asks the Government. “Are you trying to give a legitimacy to foreigners who have been working against the labour laws since 2011? What about work for ni-Vanuatu who have a legal priority?”

Australian organised crime figure Mick Gatto has been linked to Port Vila online betting agency BetJack, reported the Australian media over the weekend. Gatto is known in Australia as the inspiration for a character in a hit TV series about Melbourne’s criminal underworld, Underbelly. He was charged with the suspected murder of a hitman in 2004 but was acquitted. More background about his recent tax troubles here and here, and his attempts at public relations here. Gatto denies any involvement in BetJack, though as the story we linked to yesterday points out, the secrecy provisions of Vanuatu’s tax haven make Gatto’s claim impossible to verify.

While on the topic of Vanuatu’s tax haven and the kind of people it attracts, from New Zealand comes word of some new arrivals to Port Vila who have skipped out on their NZ tax obligations. “After leaving behind a string of collapsed businesses which owe nearly [NZ]$2.5 million to the New Zealand taxman”, says the New Zealand Herald, Ross Harold Fitches and Christine Angela Fitches appear to have escaped to Port Vila. The couple are on a NZ Govt list of people who are banned from running a company there. We wonder if the Fitches have made any application to VIPA, and if so, if VIPA is aware of their background.

Ten scholarship holders for the University of New Caledonia were refused permission to continue their studies this year when they turned up at the Scholarships Office on 28 January, Daily Post reveals this morning in information from the Vanuatu Anti-Corruption Commission (VACC). The students’ names had already appeared on the list of successful students following 2012 exams. The list, however, was modified by the Minister. VACC sees this as a “direct interference” in their studies and future prospects.

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