Opinion: a call for a tolerant, understanding and caring Vanuatu

A call for a tolerant, understanding and caring Vanuatu

By Michael Taurakoto

MP Andrew Napuat’s recent statement on the supremacy of Christian principles in Vanuatu society raises important issues that leaders throughout Vanuatu should deliberate and consider carefully.

It is true that the founding fathers and mothers of this country were primarily Christian. This is a testament to the important role Christian churches played in educating and training the leaders that would take the then colony of New Hebrides to independence in 1980.

It is understandable then that our national motto and the preamble to our Constitution make specific reference to God as the inspiration behind the struggle for political independence and freedom.

What is also true is that these same founding fathers and mothers crafted and enacted a Constitution which guarantees fundamental individual rights and freedom from discrimination on the basis of, among other things, religious beliefs.

Today, Vanuatu is a diverse country. While Christianity is still the dominant religion, making up 82.4% of the population (2009 Census), we have to acknowledge that the rest of the population, totalling over 40,000 citizens, do not necessarily share the same Christian beliefs as the majority of us. Read the rest of this entry »


Visa-free travel between Vanuatu and South Korea a boost for tourism

South Korea flag

The Vanuatu and South Korea governments are planning a simplified, visa-free entry procedure for visitors from one country to the other. The Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament have been in the Philippines for the meeting that marks 50 years of ASEAN, which has been widely covered by world media.

Reserve Bank Governor Simeon Athy has drawn attention to the importance of the new Read the rest of this entry »


Tax expert to Vanuatu Govt: don’t repeat the mistakes of the 1990s

tax Vanuatu

A story familiar to many here in Vanuatu and especially those concerned in Finance in government: Nik Soni, who worked with governments here that long ago, after a well developed advisory time in other developing countries, had much to say about Vanuatu’s yet-to-be-unveiled tax plan on Coffee & Controversy on Buzz 96 FM on Tuesday. Not repeating the mistakes of the 1990 is surely the clearest signal of where we are likely to go wrong. But before getting on to the worst early wrongdoings of the late 1990s, Soni was full of praise for the 2017 Government making so much more of public consultation. Too right.

The nitty-gritty of where Vanuatu started going wrong in the 1990s, according to Nik Soni is the balance between Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu mulls import ban on plastic bags and bottles

Vanuatu PM Salwai says Govt is looking at implementing a plastic ban – please show your support by signing this petition!

PM Salwai says Govt is looking at implementing a ban – please show your support by signing this petition!

Almost all of us, whether urban or rural, knows Port Vila to be considered a place of great beauty, praised by visitors from overseas and locals alike. And it is being made more and more attractive all the time with the Seafront development and Fatumaru Bay project, which will bring the tourists in. There is really good news ahead: the Prime Minister has committed Vanuatu to a ban on plastic bags and bottles. In his Independence Day speech, PM Salwai recognised the efforts of a number of concerned individuals who started the No Plastik Bag Plis campaign so very recently. A paper and online version of this petition for stronger regulation to minimise plastic pollution still needs signatures, and Vanuatu Digest encourages everyone to sign. Luganville is also intended as a municipal partner in this project. And it is hoped it can become a nationwide campaign. Vanuatu will likely become the first island country in the Pacific region to implement a policy like this. (Daily Post)

PM Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, also in his official Independence Day speech, once again repeated the mantra that Vanuatu could not really be free until every country seeking independence in the Pacific is truly Read the rest of this entry »


Security, peace and stability are are the foundation of the nation, says PM

A Vanuatu Mobile Force soldier raises the Vanuatu flag at yesterday's official celebration of 37 years of independence. Photo: Mia Rimon, Pacific Community

A Vanuatu Mobile Force soldier raises the Vanuatu flag at yesterday’s official celebration of 37 years of independence. Photo: Mia Rimon, Pacific Community

The President’s determination to achieve unity during his term of office, as he opened the Read the rest of this entry »


Happy 37th birthday, Vanuatu!

Vanuatu MPs march this morning to celebrate Vanuatu's 37th anniversary of Independence. Photo: Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, MP

Vanuatu MPs march this morning to celebrate Vanuatu’s 37th anniversary of Independence. Photo: Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, MP


PM announces free primary and secondary education – again

First grade students during class at Norsup Primary School. Photo: Connor Ashleigh/Australian Aid

First grade students during class at Norsup Primary School. Photo: Connor Ashleigh/Australian Aid

Happy Vanuatu Children’s Day. Children are appropriately singled out today with the announcement that the entire government is behind the Free Secondary Education Scheme. This will start from Read the rest of this entry »