South African High Commissioner’s visit highlights links, shared values

South Africa's flag looks somewhat familiar…

Seeing double: South Africa’s flag looks somewhat familiar…

A visit from the South African High Commissioner has enabled the distinguished visitor to recall some of the events of the two countries which were to a degree in parallel just before our Independence. These, of course were the Read the rest of this entry »


Salwai Govt’s consultative approach to community development pays off with Ambrym airport decision

Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai. Photo: ITU

Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai. Photo: ITU

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Vanuatu joins ranks of 105 other nations with Right to Information laws

right to information vanuatu

The story of the week last week – most certainly for the press – was the passing of the “historic” Right to Information (RTI) Bill – very much “a step in the right direction”. Government must tell us what it is doing. And by treating all information as open by default it underscores the government serving the people principle. There will be information officers in every ministry, department or agency who must supply the needs of the serious inquirer, even though the process will sometimes appear tedious. Many people have worked for a long time on the policy which went into the provision of the Act. The Media Association of Vanuatu was appreciative, even the Read the rest of this entry »


Port Vila Municipal Council advocates for town planning – but is this possible without a town planner?

One of Port Vila's many informal settlements – a symptom of lack of urban planning at all levels of government. Photo: IOM

One of Port Vila’s informal settlements – one of the symptoms of the lack of urban planning in Vanuatu. Photo: IOM

The Planning and Zoning Unit of the Port Vila Municipal Council has said there must be planning and control in all areas of Port Vila. There was a meeting earlier this week, which heard the Senior Planning Officer, Jerry Sampson, saying that in the last 40 years, building construction in the township has simply followed the wishes of the site owner. Sampson now has a zoning proposal which the Port Vila Municipal Council is trying to introduce. Radio Vanuatu reported Sampson speaking at the meeting about his proposal. We ask, is it about time for the Municipality of Port Vila to employ more professionally qualified town planners?

Members of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs of Efate are meeting today and tomorrow at the Mele village faréa. The executive of the Vaturisu wants the committee to hear the update report of the Custom Governance Programme launched in July in the Port Vila area. The Chairman of the Vaturisu, Chief Henry Manlaewia, says Read the rest of this entry »


Extraordinary session of Parliament called – but agenda shrouded in secrecy

parliament-q

The big news today was carried by Radio Vanuatu, that Parliament is to meet on 21 November. This announcement was given as the usual service message from the Clerk and Speaker of Parliament and gave no details of the agenda of the extraordinary sitting. That said, MPs were told, that owing to communications and transport difficulties, they would not know what the business to be conducted during the extraordinary sitting will concern. They will only receive their packets of documents when they arrive in Port Vila.

For the Westminster democracy system to work properly, the people of Vanuatu need their representatives to be able to discuss any proposed legislation with their constituents, in their electorates, before they arrive in Parliament. It also brings up the question of the MPs constitutional rights to information. Since in recent times we have had to participate in the general discussion concerning electoral reforms and the introduction of income taxes, it behoves the state to set what we call here ‘the Awareness’ in motion at the earliest possible moment. Just saying the MPs papers can be found at the Clerk’s office when they arrive in town does not comply with the MPs’ and general public’s right to information. We will be hearing quite a lot more about rights to information (RTI) and it is to be hoped the next sitting will see Read the rest of this entry »


PNG’s largest bank, Bank South Pacific, commences operations in Vanuatu

Bank South Pacific logo

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