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’s new Ambassador to China, Nguk Yang Dennis Nai, has agreed to comply with President Iolu Abbil’s request that Vanuatu’s embassy in Beijing not sell Vanuatu passports. Radio Vanuatu News reported this yesterday, and Daily Post today quotes Pres. Abbil’s request: “Vanuatu passports are very important documents to any ni-Vanuatu citizen, and that must be respected at all times.” He said he does not want to hear reports that the Vanuatu embassy in China is involved in selling Vanuatu passports.
Radio New Zealand International aired a rather breathless story this morning about how Port Vila ground to a “virtual standstill” for the state funeral of Harry Iauko yesterday. It didn’t, as anyone who was actually in Port Vila could have told RNZI’s reporter. Daily Post’s senior purple prose writer Len Garae was also reported saying that “the streets were packed with people standing quietly to show their last respects”, which is another falsehood. RNZI’s story seems to be predicated on the assumption that the death of a significant public figure automatically elicits reverence from the general public, which, in Iauko’s case, sori blo talem, simply is not true. In death, as in life, Iauko continues to divide opinion.
The Supreme Court recounted the votes for the Santo Rural constituency this morning in the presence of Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek, the Electoral Commission and a lawyer from the State Law Office. The recount is required due to a successful electoral dispute petition in that constituency. No word yet on the result.