Public urged to report Vietnamese ‘blue boats’ illegally fishing in Vanuatu territorial waters

An example of Vietnamese 'blue boat' – fishing vessels that have frequently been caught plundering the fisheries of Pacific nations. File photo: Wikimedia Commons

An example of Vietnamese ‘blue boat’ – vessels known to be illegally fishing inside the territorial waters of Pacific nations. File photo: Wikimedia Commons

Vietnamese ‘blue boats’ illegally fishing in our exclusive economic zone are a threat to Vanuatu’s environment and food security. Fisheries Director Kalo Pakoa asks the public to call the Vanuatu Mobile Force’s Maritime Base on 22860 to report any sightings of ‘blue boats’, so named for their distinctive hue. They are not fitted with automatic identification systems, as is the case with vessels licenced to fish in our waters, so are difficult to track. Three such vessels’ captains have been prosecuted recently in New Caledonia and their catch seized by the French Navy, but they subsequently escaped Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu daily news digest | 27 January 2013

Prime Minister Sato Kilman has not made any statement concerning Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot or Pascal Anh Quan Saken through the mainstream media in Vanuatu yet. This comes about when their partnership is the most discussed topic in the media and nakamals of the capital. Opposition Leader Edward Natapei, in the Daily Post on Friday, insisted the PM terminate Carlot. Natapei sees Carlot’s involvement with Saken as detrimental to Vanuatu’s international credibility.

VBTC News this weekend carried a complaint by Immigration officers over the establishment of a new company, Pacific Migration Consultants, by the DG of Internal Affairs, George Bogiri. The Principal Immigration Officer, François Batick said the new company will be able to earn over Vt 200 million annually.

The President of the Vanuatu Vietnamese Association, Dinh Van Than, says Pascal Anh Quan Saken was born in Vietnam and lived there until he was 11 years old. He then moved to France for 15 years and became a French citizen, he says in this weekend’s Daily Post. “It was a lie that Pascal Saken went to school in Port Vila as I would have known him. Instead Pascal Saken went on to live in Bangkok to this day”, Than told Daily Post. Dinh Van Than was born in Vanuatu in 1944 and has lived here ever since. Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot had told freelance journalist Hilaire Bule, when the Phocea was boarded in July last year, how he came to know Pascal Anh Quan. The Minister replied “While you were still playing in your jungle [on Pentecost], I was going to school with him in town.” Than says Saken did not attend any school, in town, and it is a lie to say he did.

Pascal Anh Quan Saken sees himself as the deputy head of the Vanuatu European Union embassy in Brussels. He claims he still holds a valid Vanuatu diplomatic passport, even though the Prime Minister’s Office cancelled it and advised the Commissioner of Police that the passport was cancelled last year. Radio Vanuatu News yesterday morning carried a report based on an interview Pascal Anh Quan gave Radio New Zealand International on Friday. Saken claims to have been the victim of bad publicity while in Papua New Guinea and says that reports are all untrue and just aimed at damaging his reputation. He is still working hard for Vanuatu, he says. He is hoping to work more with Europe and the United States to build the structure of his country, Vanuatu. Saken says he cannot come to Vanuatu because his sailing boat Phocea is still being held by the Government on suspicion of carrying arms or drugs. He says he has heard all the allegations against him. While in PNG, he could not meet the US Ambassador as planned, but hopes to go back to PNG next month. He has also heard his passport was revoked by PM Kilman last September, but he believes the passport he holds is still valid.

The Citizenship Commission has announced that adult “adoption” does not entitle the adoptee to Vanuatu citizenship. The Citizenship Commission will continue to expect new citizen applicants to have resided in Vanuatu for more than ten years. Read the rest of this entry »

Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau acts against interests of kastom land owners in Mangaliliu land sale

Map showing customary land area leased by Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau against the wishes of the people of Lelepa and Mangaliliu

Map showing customary land area leased by Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau against the wishes of the people of Lelepa and Mangaliliu

Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau has approved a lease over large area of the customary lands of Lelepa and Mangaliliu (Lelema) to a Mele man for 75 years, against the wishes of the customary land owners. Mangaliliu Chief Mormor said at the time of the creation of a customary lease application for their own lands,  back in May: “We want a custom land lease ourselves, over our land, to protect ourselves and our land”. The North Efate land owners now have to protect themselves from the Minister of Lands. Daily Post leads with this story today. It covers how the chiefs of North Efate wrote to the Minister requesting a halt to all further land dealings in their area after nearly two years of consultation and mapping and for six community leases to be issued so their lands could truly remain theirs in perpetuity.

Lelepa and Mangaliliu chiefs signing an agreement to protect their customary lands in May 2012

Lelepa and Mangaliliu chiefs signing an agreement to protect their customary lands in May 2012

The Land Reform Act [Cap 123] gives the Minister for Lands the power to approve leases on behalf of customary owners if the land is in dispute. However, the Lelema lands are not under dispute and are unalienated. Minister Kalsakau here is acting in breach of the Act and against the letter of the Constitution. There is speculation too that the Mele lessee is just a front man for powerful foreign business interests.

Read the rest of this entry »

Govt, Minister Carlot hold press conferences to “clarify misconceptions” over Phocea, dodgy land dealings

Government is engaged in a headlong rush to hold press conferences to ‘clarify’ misconceptions which they claim have been generated by the media. VBTC News and Daily Post both report on what was said at these press conferences.

Neither news source has yet reported the huge loss to Government on land lease sales. Daily Post has partially reported the Café du Village story, writing that the Ministry of Lands sold the lease to the Café du Village site for the pathetically low amount of Vt 500,000. Vanuatu has lost up to Vt 150 million on what was claimed to be “unmanageable” public land, but which is actually prime, commercial real estate. When will Government hold a press conference to explain this? We are holding our breath.

Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot yesterday “broke his silence” with his press conference over the Phocea. Yes, he, Carlot, was invited on board the yacht Phocea with a formal invitation, as were all Ministers. “Mr Carlot says Pascal Anh Quan Saken has helped him out a lot financially”, reports Radio New Zealand International today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Carcasses asks Auditor General to investigate allegations of rorts within VNPF

Daily Post this morning begins with Moana Carcasses requests the Auditor General to investigate the VNPF. To most this will seem not enough and too late. Ministers suspend police commissioners and fraud investigators readily enough. Where workers’ savings are involved, a common enough suspension on full pay should be easily arranged and keep people a bit happy. We do not want another riot. Nor do we want Moana Carcasses stacking the VNPF board with his cronies, however.

However, the VNPF savings fund allegedly lost Vt 156 million last year, Daily Post reveals, and this surely merits instant ministerial and managerial explanation and sackings Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking news: Suspended head of Police Transnational Crime Unit breaks his silence

The Independent newspaper today has an excellent interview with the suspended head of the Fraud Squad, Inspector Andrew Kalman. Kalman gives a little more detail of the on-board Phocea party involving Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot, another minister, a senior inspector of the police and staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the yacht not yet having cleared Customs and Immigration at the time.

Kalman is quite rightly upset at being suspended when he had been asked to obtain the search warrant and lead the raid on the vessel. He is cross that while he has been suspended, the Police Inspector on the ship illegally has not been disciplined, nor has the one who stamped arrival cards for certain people at the airport instead of at the immigration department, as is legally required.

Also of interest is Pascal Vu Anh Quan Saken, the party host and a ringleader of Read the rest of this entry »