Four Vanuatu MPs Align Themselves With Government

Opposition MPs perform customary mat ceremonies to declare allegiance to PM Salwai

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 12, 2017) – In a dramatic political move yesterday afternoon, four Members of Parliament (MPs) namely; the Port Vila MP Ephraim Kalsakau and another Port Vila MP Seule Kalo, Paama MP Fred Taso and Ambrym MP Albert Williams, all performed customary mats ceremonies to Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, declaring their allegiance to stand with the present Government.

MP Albert Williams and MP Fred Tasso, were with the Government after the snap general election in 2015, but later moved to the U-Bloc in the Opposition side. MP Seule Kalo, of the Green Confederation was also with the Government, but moved to the Opposition bloc.

He decided to move back to the Government side following the formation of the Shefa Provincial Council and Green Executive Council and with the President of the Green Confederation Party MP Toara Daniel, then yesterday re-joined the Government side along with MPs Albert Williams, of Ambrym and MP Fred Taso, of Paama.

The Port Vila MP Ephraim Kalsakau, collectively decided with the three other colleague MPs to join the Government of the Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, yesterday for what they all stated as uniting for the sake of the welfare of the people and the nation.

The prime minister also exchanged four mats to each of the four MPs during the ceremony.

Speaking first on behalf of the four MPs, the Paama MP Fred William Taso, expressed their gratitude to the prime minister for accepting them into the Government.

He expressed regret for the previous move three of them took to move out of the Government to join the Opposition and said this is now behind as they stepped back into the current coalition government to work hand in hand to serve the people and the nation of Vanuatu.

Each of the three MPs; Albert Williams, Fred William Taso, and Seule Kalo, presented a mat each to the Prime Minister while MP Albert Williams also presented a second mat to MP Johnny Koanapo, Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, whom he described as close colleague in the government administration before both men became MPs.

The prime minister also responded to the MPs by presenting a mat each to them.

“Our country and our people need every support by all of us the elected Members of Parliament particularly the Government in these challenging times.

“In uniting and working together as a Government gives the trust to our people of the better future ahead.

“Your decision in joining the Government today (yesterday), further consolidate this aspiration.

“I heve the trust in each and every one of you as we hold hands together in taking this nation forward.

“Despite Vanuatu’s population of only 300,000 people, we still experience unemployment amongst our people, especially in the youth sector.

“We need to pull together as leaders to find solutions to this and other issues that our people and country face today.

“Let us leave the past behind, sit down together as reflected in the exchanges in traditional mats this afternoon (yesterday) to explore all avenues for solutions for our people and nation.

“We were elected by our people to serve them and I am pleased of your decisions in joining this government, our government and the government of the people of Vanuatu to work together in achieving better development goals to improve the life of our people,” Prime Minister Salwai remarked.

In all their respective remarks, the four MPs assured the prime minister that this is the very reason they have decided to join the Government and that is to be “in” the Government because only being “in” the Government can they contribute more positively in decision making processes as well dialoguing over issues, and providing solutions that will improve the life of the people and country.

They assured the prime minister of their allegiance and support to the government he leads.

Together with Mr Salwai, the four MPs agreed it is high time to make changes, identify and prioritize and improve the life of the people and the country as well as addressing the growing concerns of the young people in the country.

In his remarks, MP Ephraim Kalsakau, said since becoming an MP, the people he meets always questioned why he is not in the Government. He said their concerns have led him to make the decision which he believes is right to join the Government for the reason of being in the Government to address such issues as un-employment and standing within the Government of finding answers and solutions to these issues.

MP Ephraim Kalsakau, agreed with remarks made by the Prime Minisyter Salwai that it is the responsibilities of the MPs and the Government of the day to address the social issues including un-employment, minimum wages and the conditions of services of employees in the country.

This ceremony preceded another also yesterday afternoon that saw the Rural Development Party’s three MPs affiliate with Leaders Party and join government.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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