VANUATU CHURCHES CONTINUE ANTI-WTO EFFORTS

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President has delayed signing accession bill

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 5, 2012) – The chairman of Vanuatu’s Christian Council, the Anglican Bishop James Ligo, has cautioned the government against finalizing the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

Last month, the WTO bill was hastily pushed through parliament after the government cancelled all applications by the Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC) for a peaceful protest against it.

Bishop Ligo says the Head of State has delayed signing the bill because he knows that most people are against it as they have not been given the opportunity to understand what it is all about.

As the president Iolu Abbil is to be given medical care in Australia, Bishop Ligo says the government should not use the opportunity to force the acting speaker, Dunstan Hilton, to sign the WTO bill into law.

[PIR editor’s note: A 'Say NO' committee was formed at the end of 2011 by the VCC, the Malvatumauri national council of chiefs, and Vanuatu Association of Non-Governmental Organizations. In August, a special sitting of Vanuatu’s parliament to inform members on the benefits and drawbacks of the WTO was only attended by half the representatives.]

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