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VANUATU’S TAFEA PROVINCE DOMINANT FORCE New head of state leads formidable contingent

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Sept. 4, 2009) – Tafea province now not only has most of its members of parliament holding portfolios in the current coalition government and parliament but one of its own now holds the highest ceremonial post of the nation that symbolises unity of Vanuatu, the Head of State.

Currently representatives from the province hold most positions in the Legislative and Executive arms of the State.

In the Government Prime Minister Edward Natapei who is an MP for the Port Vila constituency is originally from Futuna in Tafea Province.

Then also in the Executive arm of the State, Tafea Province has three government ministers and they are Joe Natuman who is the minister for foreign affairs, Harry Iauko who is minister for lands and Moses Kahu the minister for health.

All three are from Tanna constituency.

In the Legislative arm of the State, members of parliament from Tafea also hold prominent positions such as MP for Tafea Outer Island, Ture Kailo who is the Government Whip as well as others in the parliamentary committees.

And on Wednesday evening one of Vanuatu’s leaders and Tafea’s own was elected the seventh President of the Republic of Vanuatu.

He is none other than well-known statesman, Iolu Abbil, a respected leader not only in Tafea province but Vanuatu as a whole.

This is the second time that a person from this province has been elected to the position of Head of State as the first was Jean-Marie Leye.

But it is not the first time that a province has taken up this position twice as Shefa has had three terms in this position.

In contrast, Torba province whose people have been raising their concerns over the past 29 years that they have been neglected in many government services and their people do not hold positions in government and parliament, do not have a representative that currently holds a ministerial post but have their MP Thomas Isom who is the current Parliamentary Leader of Government Business.

Members of parliament in the past from this northern-most province have been appointed as State ministers but none has ever been appointed as Prime Minister or elected as Head of State, unlike other provinces who have either had one of their leaders appointed as Prime Minister or elected as President.

Currently the sharing of ministerial portfolios in the Natapei-led government among the provinces sees Tafea with three ministers and the Prime Minister who is an elected MP for Port Vila; Shefa has one minister who is the Internal Affairs Minister Patrick Crowby, Penama has three and they are minister for justice Ham Lini, minister for trades James Bule and minister for education Charlot Salwai; Malampa has two and they are minister for youth and sports Jossie Masmas and ni-Vanuatu business minister Esmon Saemon; Sanma has three ministerial portfolios held by minister for public utilities Serge Vohor, minister for finance Sela Molisa, and minister for Agriculture Havo Moli.

The position of Speaker of Parliament is currently held by veteran Efate MP, Maxime Carlot Korman.

But despite the fact that leaders only from certain provinces take up ministerial portfolios or position of President repeatedly, at the end of the day the country has to find good leaders who will be leaders of Vanuatu and work in the interest of this country and its people starting from the first island of Hiu in the north to the last island of Aneityum in the south.

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