Former Vanuatu Fishermen Want Claims Finalized

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Association calls on government to announce a date for payments

By Elton Barley

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 20, 2014) – After a one hour-meeting at Unity Park, Santo, on Wednesday, over 100 former fishermen and the families of deceased fishermen in Vanuatu added their signatures to a letter asking the prime minister to name the date when their claims will be finalised.

The Ex-Fishermen Association (South Pacific Fishing Company) in Luganville, Santo and Malo is calling on Prime Minister Moana Carcasses to give an exact date for the payment of their claims.

Speaking on behalf of the members of the association and its chairman, Massing Naleng Jacques said the fishermen in Sanma and Luganville are patient, but they just want to know a definite date on which the payments will be made.

"We have been through a lot and have waited for quite some time now. It is good too that the PM has come out and said that we will be getting our pay, but we just want to know when," said Jacques.

The fishermen's saga began over 11 years ago, after fishermen working on foreign vessels returned to Vanuatu only to find out that their wages for working in foreign fishing boats had been used elsewhere.

The issue was taken to court, and this saw the South Pacific Fishing Company facilities in Santo handing over to the SPFC Ex- Fisherman Association.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the ex-fisherman’s association is also asking members of parliament Christopher Emelee and Robert Bohn to make time to go and meet with the executives of SPFC ex- fisherman in Santo.

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