Electoral Commission dismisses Tanna concerns; President calls on all voters to take part; electoral roll grows

Get out and vote!The Electoral Commission has spoken out concerning worries expressed by certain political parties on Tanna about amended proxy voting conditions. Proxy vote categories 4 to 6 became effective January 13 and closed on January 15. The Tanna candidates or parties taking exception to the proxy changes claim another political party had more chance to take advantage of the new conditions. The Electoral Commission, however, says adequate notice was given. The SG of Tafea Province agrees. VMF officers are providing additional security on Tanna for the duration of the elections.

The Commonwealth election observer team has called on all eligible voters to cast their votes on Friday. President Baldwin Lonsdale, too, has urged eligible voters to Read the rest of this entry »


Election observers ready for Jan. 22 General Election

Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group

Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group

The Chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group for the election, Hubert Ingraham, the former Bahamas PM, has promised the media the group will observe the election and comment on factors which could impinge the electoral processes. “This includes observing the pre-election environment, polling day and post election period”, he made clear. “The country has committed itself to democratic electoral standards”, he reminded everyone. Members of the Commonwealth Observer Group, Pacific Islands Forum and MSG observers gathered last evening after a press conference in order to meet Read the rest of this entry »

Commonwealth observer team to offer electoral advice

Hubert Ingraham

Former Bahamas PM Hubert Ingraham. Photo: thebahamasweekly.com

Commonwealth Observer mission for the election will give practical recommendations to help strengthen Vanuatu’s electoral process based on their observations. The group is headed by a former Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hubert Ingraham. They arrive today from Australia, Guyana, Fiji and Uganda. They remain until 5 days after the elections, reports the Daily Post. A former ombudsman, an MP, an editor, an election supervisor and a gender equity expert are included in their ranks.

The court case being brought by a former chargé d’affaires in Beijing, Willie Toama, will not delay the snap poll. Toama’s name was not included in the official list of candidates. Daily Post has the story on page 1 today. They also re-confirm, Charles Lini’s name is now officially included.

Radio Vanuatu has had elements from the Moderates continuing to insist that Serge Vohor in prison Read the rest of this entry »

Video: Tanna traditions triumph after Cyclone Pam

During Cyclone Pam in March 2015, some traditional cyclone houses on Tanna proved more resistant to the super cyclone’s destructive winds than many modern buildings. This video explains why traditional architecture is preferable as a cheap, cyclone-resistant and sustainable form of housing.

Cyclone Pam was a Category 5 cyclone, the highest rating on both the Saffir-Simpson and the Australian cyclone scales. Sustained winds were measured at over 270km/hour, and gusts were recorded at 320km/hour, but were possibly much higher than this over Erromango and Tanna. Meteorologists are still debating whether Cyclone Pam is the first Category 6 cyclone ever recorded. Read the rest of this entry »

Govt earns vt26M from candidate applications; conspiracy judgement delivered on Friday

Government has generated vt26 million through candidacy application fees for the upcoming January 22 General Election.

The current Charge d’Affaires at Vanuatu’s embassy in Beijing, Willie Toama has filed a constitutional challenge against the Electoral Office, after being declared ineligible to contest the election. Toama is hoping to stand for the Moderate Alliance in the Tanna constituency.

The judgement in the conspiracy case against the 11 convicted MPs and their lawyer Wilson Aumai will be delivered Read the rest of this entry »

Red alert issued for Tafea Province as Cyclone Ula nears

Cyclone Ula satellite animation from wunderground.com

Cyclone Ula satellite animation from wunderground.com

A Red Alert for Cyclone Ula is in effect for the south of Tafea Province, according to the latest advisory from Vanuatu Meteorological Services’ Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre issued at 8:54pm Sunday 10/1.

Update 8:30am VUT 11/1/2015: The NDMO has given the All Clear for Tafea Province. As the cyclone is slowly moving away from Vanuatu waters, this will be the final update on Severe Tropical Cyclone Ula unless the cyclone turns back.

Residents of the affected parts of Tafea province are advised to take shelter from the cyclone immediately.

Overnight, heavy rain and flooding in low-lying coastal areas and riverbanks are expected in the affected areas, along with very rough to phenomenal seas with heavy swells.

Winds at the centre are currently at 175km/hr and intensifying. Damaging strong to gale force 65–75km/hr winds will continue to affect Aneityum, Futuna and south Tanna overnight. The eye of the cyclone is not expected to pass over any islands in Vanuatu at this time. The cyclone is currently moving away from Vanuatu in a southwesterly direction.

Cyclone Ula is a Category 4 severe tropical cyclone currently located at the bottom centre of J10 on the Vanuatu Tropical Cyclone Tracking Map (shown below), or about 95km southeast of Aneityum and 190km southeast of Tanna.

Tropical Cyclone Forecast Track Map Number 16 issued at 9:07 pm VUT Sunday 10 January 2016

Vanuatu daily news digest | 6 February 2013

Vanuatu Meteorological Services have just released a tsunami advisory following a 8.0 earthquake in the Santa Cruz Islands north of Vanuatu. The advisory reads:

Tsunami Advisory Number 2 for Vanuatu issued by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department at 1:30 pm Wednesday, February 06, 2013

At 12:12 pm local time today 06th February 2013, an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 was located at 10.9 degrees south, 165.1 Degrees East. This is about 575 kilometers north northwest of Luganville, Santo.

An earthquake of this size has the potential to cause destructive Tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours. The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) advises people throughout Vanuatu to take appropriate action and precautionary measures upon receiving this advisory. This includes immediate evacuation from coastal areas and to higher grounds.

People throughout northern and central Vanuatu who have moved to high grounds are asked to remain. Those who have not, are asked to do so.

People are advised to continue to listen to all radio outlets. The next advisory will be updated today at 2.30 pm today.

The Prime Minister’s Office wants the Police to investigate whether Hilaire Bule has defamed PM Kilman in last weekend’s Independent newspaper, where he alleged that Pascal Anh Quan Saken contributed USD200,000 to PM Kilman’s 2012 election campaign. Bule says he will offer proof of the transaction this coming weekend in the Independent, VBTC News reported yesterday. As we have reported previously, a police investigation into Anh Quan Saken and the arrival of the Phocea was opened six months ago by the Police Trans-National Crime Unit, but promptly halted by the Government for unspecified reasons. The officer in charge of the investigation, Andrew Kalman, was suspended, and remains so to this day. Patunvanu, however, gets a full page of today’s Daily Post to rant in. It seems he views the media revelations about Phocea as a “conspiracy against Vanuatu” and calls for an Ombudsman report. What a good idea. An Ombudsman report on Saken’s illegal activities with the Phocea and Government Ministers might finally reveal why members of the Government of this nation are getting into bed with an alleged drug and arms smuggler.

Speaking of libellious statements, Vanuatu blogger Phil Manhire strenuously denies all assertions by Jeff Joel Patunvanu that he is associated with Pascal Anh Quan Saken. As well as blogging, Manhire sits on the board of Vanuatu Youth Against Corruption.

Read the rest of this entry »