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 »

Political leaders in Tafea province abandon UMP for Prime Minister’s RMC party

Flag of Vanuatu's TAFEA province

Flag of Vanuatu’s TAFEA province

An interesting political development… Tafea Outer Islands leaders until now of the formerly heavyweight grouping of the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) are turning to the Prime Ministers’ Reunification Movement for Change (RMC). They are from Erromango and Aneityum. The decision was taken last week, says Radio Vanuatu, after the court decision relating to eligibility to participate in the Tafea Province elections this coming Thursday. Four provinces are voting this week. In advance of the announcement of the intending candidates to move to PM Salwai’s party, commonly understood to be trying very hard to achieve unity, Leader of the Opposition Ishmael Kalsakau was on Tanna to try to unify the UMP political groupings, some following the former Chairman Serge Vohor and others following a leader chosen when Vohor was convicted in the bribery scandal, Jacques Mariango. The location of the very heart of the so-called moderate parties may well be Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrations held in Vanuatu and China to mark 35 years of diplomatic relations

35 years of diplomatic relations between Vanuatu and China were celebrated at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China yesterday. Photo: David Morris

35 years of diplomatic relations between Vanuatu and China were also celebrated at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China yesterday. Photo: David Morris

This month marks 35 years of diplomatic relations between Vanuatu and China. With China becoming a major source of tourists and its long-standing committment to supporting Vanuatu’s development, it is only appropriate that we celebrate. In March 1982, Prime Minister Walter Lini signed the agreement for Read the rest of this entry »

Govt says kava exports have rebounded by 345% since Cyclone Pam

Director of Biosecurity Vanuatu Timothy Tumukon reveals that total kava exports for 2015 were valued at just Vt 180 million because of Cyclone Pam. However, in the year following Cyclone Pam, kava export sales soared to Vt 800 million. Monday was the second anniversary of Cyclone Pam’s destruction. Government is helping farmers to plant the best noble varieties for their areas and the rules for product preparation for the international market are being taught.

UMP is seeking a reconciliation between what are understood to be only two factions within the Union of Moderate Parties on Tanna today. Ishmael Kalsakau (Leader of the Opposition) allegedly Read the rest of this entry »

Supreme Court prevents Meriango splinter faction from contesting provincial elections under UMP banner

Logo of Vanuatu's Union of Moderate Parties (UMP)

The big story today concerns the ongoing division within the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) and what this means for the coming provincial elections. An application to the Supreme Court by the jailed Serge Vohor and Ishmael Kalsakau was Read the rest of this entry »

Penalty for sex crimes against minors now life imprisonment under new Penal Code

One of Port Vila's correctional centres. Photo: Flickr/mikecogh

The Penal Code is undergoing significant changes. The penalties for violent and sexual crimes against the younger age groups are being massively increased. Incest, for example, has the prison term extended from Read the rest of this entry »