Disaster relief supplies start arriving in cyclone-ravaged Torres islands

Wind and salt damaged trees on Hiu island, pictured today from a helicopter. Photo: Hon. Ralph Regenvanu MP

Wind and salt damaged trees on Hiu island, pictured from a helicopter supplying relief supplies. Photo: Hon. Ralph Regenvanu MP

The Torres islands has begun receiving disaster relief supplies following the passage of Cyclone Donna. There is an emergency operations centre now open at Loh Island coordinating distribution. Over the weekend a helicopter delivered the first necessities to all the islands and the vessel Pacific Hope is now distributing water, sanitation and health (WASH) items for improved hygiene. There have been reports of illnesses like Read the rest of this entry »


New category of ni-Vanuatu citizenship introduced by Government – for US$130,000 per application

Vanuatu passport

A new Vanuatu citizenship category has been created by Government called the Development Support Program. DSP replaces the Vanuatu Economic Rehabilitation Program (VERP). Applicants deposit a non-refundable US$130,000 (Vt 14 million) to cover the applicant and family members. Applicants are also required to pay  US$2,000 (Vt 215,000) for a report from the Financial Intelligence Unit. The strong point of the new DSP plan is in having the Citizenship Commission appoint Vila based designated agents who will check on the Financial Intelligence Unit screening of the individual concerned and make recommendations to the Citizenship Commission. This will avoid the sort of situation we have seen where persons of unsuitable character and professional quality continue to hold important positions. VERP ceases at the end of this month. (Daily Post)

Biscochoc’s take over of the Metenesel Estate for the bargain price of Vt 100 a hectare per year is being challenged in the courts. This is where Read the rest of this entry »

Mystery fishing vessel detained by Customs on arrival in Port Vila

Customs has detained a Sri Lankan captain and crew of a vessel which is located at the main wharf. A previous owner is also said to be within the country and names Paul Ogden of JPO Kava Export and Import as the owner, the same company JPO accused recently of exporting adulterated kava to New Zealand. There was no fishing equipment found aboard the vessel which is thought likely to be used for inter-island trading. (Daily Post)

66 cases of dengue fever have been confirmed by the Department of Health and six have Read the rest of this entry »

Airport upgrade bids announced next month; Claims Airports Vanuatu Ltd used as a political slush fund

Luganville's Pekoa International Airport: companies also bidding to upgrade the country's northern international airport.

Luganville’s Pekoa International Airport: companies also bidding to upgrade the country’s northern international airport.

Bidding in the Bauerfield runway upgrade project also sees four companies vying for consideration for the Whitegrass Tanna and Santo Pekoa airport improvements. Four companies chose only to bid for the Bauerfield project. Long-term and newly arrived companies are bidding. Winning bids will be jointly approved by Government and the World Bank. Successful bids are likely to be known within a month.

Severe criticism surrounds Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL)’s management practices, with politicians accusing previous regimes of malpractice and of misusing AVL funds on motions of no confidence. Public Utilities Minister Napat was answering questions from Ambae MP Mata in Parliament. The Minister said AVL “is quite messy. It is dirtier than dirt. And it is very Read the rest of this entry »

President Lonsdale calls for more responsibility, less selfishness from political leaders

President Baldwin Lonsdale.

“The security, rights and needs of people must predominate in leaders’ thinking”, says President Baldwin Lonsdale.

The Head of State made Vanuatu’s security the cornerstone of his address in opening the second ordinary sitting of Parliament yesterday. “Leaders must understand that they must take action to avoid violence and corruption proliferating and become aware that people are fearing for their lives”, said President Lonsdale. “The security, rights and needs of people must predominate in leaders’ thinking, and people want to express themselves on these issues, and be heard.” President Baldwin Lonsdale inspected a guard of honour before officially opening the second ordinary sitting. (Radio Vanuatu)

The Speaker of Parliament Esmon Saimon withdrew two Private Members’ Bills from the agenda of the current Parliament sitting yesterday. He stated that they had not Read the rest of this entry »

An amazing coincidence: earthquake strikes during discussion of disputed maritime boundary

Bathymetry map of Vanuatu and surrounding area. Map: NASA

Bathymetry map of Vanuatu and surrounding area. The line to the west of Vanuatu is where the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates meet. Map: NASA

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PM Salwai may have to testify against Natuman; NISCOL to be restructured to end political interference

Smart Sistas finalists for ICT Day

During the two ICT Days this week, the ten lucky finalists selected for the Smart Sistas Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Camp are enjoying an intensive program of learning about computer gaming, coding, network ethics and other IT topics. More info at smartsistas.vu.

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