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Crowby celebrates ouster of ‘new blood’ lawmakers

By Lora Lini

PORT VILA (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 1, 2009) - Internal Affairs Minister Patrick Crowby and newly appointed Minister for Lands Harry Iauko used their parliamentary privileges Friday to single out Port Vila MP Ralph Regenvanu for unprecedented public ridicule over an email he circulated on June 15 that branded most of the MPs in the government as "corrupt".

Regenvanu even branded some of the MPs as "doti niu bad".

The email was circulated on the day four Efate MPs lost their seats in parliament.

Crowby called for more respect from the Port Vila MP and anyone who comes from another island, but lives in Port Vila.

Crowby’s motion was seconded by Iauko and was intended to oust the Port Vila MP from Parliament.

The widely circulated email by MP Regenvanu in bislama was read out by Crowby.

It read (translated here): "To all. Today I am very glad. Why? Bakoa Kaltongga and Joshua Kalsakau have lost their seats as MP and the Courts have recommended that they both be prosecuted for bribery. These two dirty "new blood" have left parliament "hopefully never to return". I will personally give a hand on the work to make sure that these two are convicted and sent to jail.

"VRP and NUP have split. In my campaign, I did say that we have to break all the ‘natora’ (old) parties if we are going to clean up corruption to achieve good development in Vanuatu. Today two natora parties have broken up, there is only VP and UMP left," the email went on.

"Now that Korman has crossed the floor, all corrupt leaders that we have have now moved to the Government side – all the old ones (except Telukluk) and the new ones too (eg, Iauko, Crowby). I am glad about this. The goats and sheep have now been well separated."

MP Regenvanu also predicted the downfall of Korman in the 2012 general election.

"Korman’s political career has now ended. We have thrown him out as the leader for opposition at the beginning of the year, and now his own MPs have thrown him out. If he contests in 2012, that will be when we will ‘bury him’".

"There are already major developments in our parliamentary politics and I am glad about it. Thanks, Ralph".

Crowby said the contents of the email lacked integrity or respect for the leaders of Efate.

"Are you saying Chief Kalsakau is part of the dirty new blood and is corrupt," Minister Crowby questioned.

He reminded Regenvanu that the prominent Kalsakau, Kaltongga, Carlot, and Manarewo families all belong to the same clan and they are not corrupt people as alleged.

"How would you feel if we go to Malekula and show your such utter disrespect," said Crowby.

The Speaker of Parliament Maxime Carlot Korman also expressed his disappointment over the email and asked Regenvanu to explain what he meant when he said he would ‘bury’ Korman in 2012.

"I, along with your father are veteran politicians. I want you to explain to me what you mean when you say you are going to bury me," the Speaker of Parliament asked.

MP for Tanna and Minister for Lands, Harry Iauko accused Regenvanu claiming he was living off corruption—making some serious allegations against the son of veteran Malekula politician Sethy and Dorothy Regenvanu who have now retired from politics.

"Unlike some of us who had to sweat through hard work to get here, you got here easy," Iauko told Regenvanu.

The Tanna MP even went as far as saying if MP Regenvanu had some problems in his brain he may need to see a doctor to help him.

In response to the accusations from the government, the Leader for Opposition, Sato Kilman became emotional while responding saying it was the first time he was aware of the controversial email.

"I cannot believe how far MP Regenvanu has gone in this," the Malekula MP said.

The war of words became so intense that the public witnessed MP Kilman visibly crying while Parliament waited on his response.

Leader of the Government Business, Thomas Isom requested MP Regenvanu to apologise to those he had accused in the email.

But Regenvanu explained that when he said ‘dirty new blood’ he meant the literal translation of the word commonly used in bislama.

Regenvanu did not apologise out of his own will but said so only upon the instruction from the speaker.

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