Vanuatu daily news digest | 14 November 2012

Political news has been eclipsed this morning by other news, Daily Post observing that “political camps tight lipped on numbers.” You will most likely be reading this in steadily increasing daylight after Vanuatu passes through the partial solar eclipse of the sun this morning. 7:52am this morning saw the maximum coverage of the face of the sun by the moon.

The Vanuatu Christian Council  or VCC is taking up the West Papua case with purposeful determination in its Annual General Meeting next week, says  VCC Chairman Bishop James Ligo in Daily Post. He says VCC wants to know why the outgoing government of Sato Kilman has not taken up the plight of the “brothers and sisters of West Papua.” The VCC wants to learn what kind of assurances Indonesia gave to the MSG in order to have MSG observer status. “We cannot entertain somebody who kills our brothers and sisters. We will work with the new government to consult and pursue ways to free the people of West Papua who are getting killed every day by the Indonesian military”, says Ligo. Bravo VCC. Papua merdeka.

Living quarters aboard mega-yacht Phocea

Living quarters aboard mega-yacht Phocea. Source:

Phocea features in an excellent story on the Sail World yachting website. The article gives the mega-yacht’s back story, and tells how her current stay in Vanuatu is not the first time the yacht has been involved in controversy. Go read the article here.

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Vanuatu daily news digest | 12 November 2012

The weekend has seen more electoral petitions being prepared by lawyers for adjudication by the Supreme Court. The Representation of the People Act requires petitions to be lodged with a vt20,000 fee within 21 days of the publication of the official results of the election. Radio Vanuatu News reported a Shepherds Outer Islands candidate ready to file a dispute yesterday. The national broadcaster has added to the list today the loss of tally sheets from certain Efate polling stations which did not get to the Electoral Office and threatening action against certain politicians on Ifira. The Labour Party says there must be an Efate by-election and requests the government to put the Principal Electoral Officer back in his position. The fraud case being brought by 33 candidates of Port Vila concerning the electoral result in the constituency of the capital was advanced over the weekend. Some 400 electoral cards of people who should have been able to vote at Vila City College, but whose names were not on the electoral roll, have now been collected. There were also legal difficulties due to the ungazetted change of location of the Vila City College polling station to premises near the Teouma Bridge.

Last weekend’s Independent reports that the caretaker Government allegedly reaches a solution to release the mega-yacht Phocea to its self-proclaimed owner Vu Anh Quan Saken who fled before Vanuatu’s justice system could deal with him. The first task of next Monday’s new government will have to be to rescind any such agreement — or require the alleged owner to come and sue the new government in the Supreme Court of Vanuatu.

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Adviser to PM Kilman threatens media over PM’s absence from official candidate list

The Caretaker First Political Adviser to the PM, Richard Kaltongga, threatens the media over the PM Sato Kilman’s absence from the approved candidate list. The lengthy rant claims that Caretaker PM Kilman had indeed paid his large outstanding debt to Government. That Kilman came into office with any debt to Government at all says a lot about his credibility and his ethics. Kaltongga makes no mention of the other PPP candidates whose names are not on the list, nor does he offer to pay their outstandings.

Kaltongga bangs on about irresponsible reporting and threatens all media with “stringent legal controls” after the next election. Those are fighting words, Kaltongga, and not very wise. Do the citizens of Vanuatu aspire to live under a dictatorship that represses their freedom of expression? We don’t think so.

In his response, Daily Post Editor Royson Willie promises the public that they will keep transparency and good governance issues in the public eye. So will we. Read the rest of this entry »

Calls for calm from traditional leader as VNPF tensions mount

Chief Kalanga Sauwia of Freswota is calling on everyone in the Freswota area to remain calm despite the perceived failure of the Tuesday afternoon meeting to satisfy members of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund that their savings are safe. Chief Sauwia’s call was the lead item on Radio Vanuatu this morning. “VNPF members were not satisfied,” he said, and clearly they were not. The assurances of Finance Minister Moana Carcasses were insufficient for members to feel their funds are in good hands. Chief Kalanga said members were resolved to demonstrate at the VNPF again today.

Radio Vanuatu reported tight police security at VNPF House early this morning. Further news Read the rest of this entry »