The French Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides is to visit the island of Espiritu Santo in an attempt to end the rebellion on the island.
GV Craft approaching beach on Espiritu New Hebrides
SV TRACKING SHOT Police irregulars, unarmed, in back of jeep
SV Officials meeting under flag (3 shots)
GV TRACKING SHOT Shopping area
SV French resident getting into car
SV INTERIOR Supermarket and goods
GV TILT DOWN Main radio station
GV British school (2 shots)
GV TILT DOWN French school with pupils arriving (2 shots)
GV TILT DOWN French and British flags flying over town hall
GV Municipality sign PAN TO Mayor of Luganville talking to reporter
TRANSCRIPT: SCULLY: "When we reached Espiritu Santo in the early morning, Luganville from the water seemed ominously still. Police irregulars of the Vemarana secessionist movement - no uniforms apart from identifying arm badges, no weapons except sticks - met us as we landed and took us through town by truck. These are the men now keeping law and order in the capital and its immediate environs."
"After a brief conference by Vemarana officials at their headquarters, we were told, yes, we could take film and were lent a car and driver. Instead of the boarded up shops we heard about in Vile this is what we found. French residents left in Luganville seemed quite at ease. Business has been affected by the closure of one bank but most shops were open and people could readily get supplies. Not just the basics either."
"The main radio transmitter had been shut down, but some business could still communicate with other islands through private radio links."
"Closed too was the British school. It has been open for only one day since May 28th."
"By contrast, the French school had only fifteen absentees, out of a school compliment of two hundred and eight. Sixteen teachers were brought from France to the school. Evidence of the heavy French spending throughout the New Hebrides, to bolster influence through education."
"Surprisingly, the twin flags of the condominium still flew over the town hall. The Mayor, Monsieur Michael Noel, thought the Government had panicked the refugees. That there'd be no real problem for many if they'd stayed."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The French Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides is to visit the island of Espiritu Santo in an attempt to end the rebellion on the island. The secessionists, backed by some French-speaking Europeans, took control last month, and have demanded complete autonomy for the coconut-growing island. Despite reports of violence, the scene on Espiritu Santo is calm, as the A.B.C's Gary Scully reports.