Vanuatu’s Wan Smolbag members clean Tagabe River

Members of the non-government organisation partnered with the British High Commission for the clean-up last week.

Activities included the viewing a documentary by British broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough.

BHS Communications Officer, Anthea Arukole said the UK hosted the COP26 UN climate change conference.

“UK will assume the COP presidential title and it is in line with WSB’s programme,.” Arukole said.

79 youths participated in the clean-up and collected 194 bags of rubbish.


TORBA becomes Vanuatu’s province to roll out COVID-19 vaccination

Vaccination was carried out at the Provincial Headquarter in Sola, Vanua Lava, with 155 people getting jabbed on the launch day.

72 got jabbed with AstraZeneca and 83 with the Sinopharm vaccine.

The first vaccinated recipients are key government officials and community leaders.

The eligible target population for TORBA Province is 6,000.


Vanuatu to invest VT4 billion in health facilities

Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Johnny Koanapo made reference to this in Parliament during the week.

“The Prime Minister told us to consider how we could use the VT4 billion (US$35.6 million) budget we were supposed to use to host the 2027 Pacific Games to improve our health facilities,” said Koanapo.

“This government has made a start. I am pleased to say the Development Committee of Officials (DCO) has already approved a document, to ensure the government starts to seriously invest in our health facilities.

Eight opposition MPs join Vanuatu's government

Six of them are from the Reunification of Movements for Change (RMC), including Christophe Emelee, who was the deputy leader of the opposition until yesterday.

The president of RMC and former Prime Minister Charlot Salwai said the MPs were approached by the government to join them.

The defection means the Bob-Loughman-led coalition government now commands 37 MPs, out of 52.

The government now has a comfortable number of seats to pass the 2022 budget in this session, which requires a two-thirds vote.

The opposition is now reduced to 14 MPs.

Vanuatu's John Frum Movement mourn loss of leader

The John Frum Movement is a cargo cult, most often linked to a mythical American serviceman in World War Two.

The military man is expected, by the movement's members, to return and bring them wealth.

The president of the Nikoletan Council of Chiefs of Tanna, Willie Lop, said John Frum believers and people on the island applauded Chief Isaac Wan's leadership and will miss him.

Chief Wan led the ceremony to raise the American flag and mark John Frum Day on 15 February each year.


Calls for a crackdown on labour hire companies 'poaching' Pacific workers

In the last 18 months, around 12,000 workers have come into Australia from countries such as Vanuatu and Samoa.

But how many have stayed in the jobs, they were contracted to do?

ABC Rural has been told more than 1,000 of these workers have absconded, with many poached by labour hire companies that are not licensed to do so.

What's going wrong?

Speaking to RN, Richard Shannon from Growcom said across Australia, farmers were reporting seasonal workers suddenly leaving their jobs.

Vanuatu convicts four Bangladeshis for trafficking and slavery

The four men have been found guilty of a range of charges including trafficking, slavery, money laundering and assault.

A 485-page verdict details how 102 Bangladeshis were deceived into going to Vanuatu for work several years ago as well as the abusive treatment they received in inadequate living conditions.

Two of the convicted men were proprietors of the Mr Price home and furniture store in Port Vila.

The victims worked long hours with little breaks, often under threat of punishment - lured to Vanuatu by the four men and their agents in Bangladesh.

Vanuatu to bring in Covid-19 vaccine for people under 18

Acting Director General, Dr. Posikai Samuel Tapo said discussions are ongoing with donor partners and orders will be placed later.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Liaison Officer in Vanuatu, Dr. Philippe Guyant said, “Currently, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for adolescents but more vaccines should be made available in few months.”

So far, WHO has approved six COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use — Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Vanuatu MP and former Speaker Shadrack suspended from Parliament

The suspension will end on 9 November 2023.

The Government tabled the motion to suspend MP Shadrack, following a declaration made by the former Speaker to vacate the seats of 19 MPs who were absent for three consecutive sittings of Parliament and later was ruled unlawful by the Supreme court and upheld by the court of appeal.

The motion to suspend MP Shadrack was moved by Leader of Government Business Anatole Hymak (MP) and seconded by Kenneth Natapei (MP), during the second ordinary session of Parliament today.

Vanuatu agriculture department finalises 2022 Business Plan

Discussions on developing provincial plans are also taking place in the planning workshop this week.

The Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Antoine Ravo said the planning workshop will determine the outputs of service delivery to farmers in 2022.

"Our inputs this week will indicate our achievements for 2021, what is yet to achieve and what are the challenges that we still need to address before the end of December 2021."