Bob Loughman

Vanuatu PM halts repatriations for July

Bob Loughman told the Vanuatu Daily Post since the beginning of the repatriation flights in May - 1,500 citizens and residents had been brought home.

Mr Loughman said all repatriation flight had now been stopped to allow authorities time and space to manage and screen those who had returned so far.

He said a longer term repatriation exercise was being planned for August but there would be no repatriation flights in July.

Vanuatu and France eye closer cooperation

Fournier met Prime Minister, Bob Loughman Tuesday in Port Vila.

They have expressed common views that Vanuatu and France are brothers for a long time, even before Vanuatu's independence in 1980.

PM Loughman assured Ambassador Fournier that Vanuatu will continue to engage with France directly or through New Caledonia to enhance their cordial relationship and promote each others interests.

New Vanuatu PM and team face unprecedented crisis

The veteran politician, Bob Loughman was voted in by fellow MPs Monday and will lead a coalition made of three larger parties and a handful of independent MPs and micro-parties.

Mr Loughman unveiled his new cabinet last night, with 12 ministers including Ishmael Kalsakau, who is the new deputy Prime Minister and also Minister for Internal Affairs.

Mark Ati has been handed the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

While Vanuatu has no confirmed COVID-19 cases, it's borders have been locked down, leaving thousands of people out of work in the valuable tourism sector.

Bob Loughman Vanuatu's new deputy PM

Mr Natuman resigned last week after receiving a letter from the Speaker of Parliament barring him from entering parliament.

Mr Natuman was given a two year suspended sentence in March after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

He had no immediate plans to step aside, but the Speaker, Esme Saemon, declared his seat vacant and urged him to seek clarification from the courts.

Like Mr Natuman, Mr Loughman is a member of the Vanua'aku Pati for Tanna.