Vanuatu MPs Defect To Opposition

Suggest move was driven by 'broken promises" and do not want to be part of any attempt to increase MP salaries while the ordinary citizens of the country struggle to make ends meet

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, September 20, 2017) – MPs Ephraim Kalsakau and Fred Tasso, of the Workers Party for Vanuatu Development, have defected to the Opposition group.

The Deputy and Acting Leader of the Opposition Bloc, Fred Tasso, told the Daily Post that they left the Government because of alleged broken promises.

He claimed Prime Minister Charlot Salwai had promised to allocate a position of Parliamentary Secretary (PS) for Labour to them three times, but this has never eventuated.

He also claimed that if the position of the PS for Labour matters was given to them, they have vast experience in Labour matters to help workers and sorting labor issues which have become surmountable and need political will to deal with these labor issues in the country.

MP Tasso also claimed that one of the reasons for their moving out of the Government and joining the Opposition is because they do not want to be part of any attempt to increase MP salaries, while the ordinary citizens of the country struggle to make ends meet.

According to a press release by the Opposition Bloc to the local media yesterday morning, the two MPs defected to the Opposition because of the alleged “overspending of unbudgeted funds to unproductive means solely for the unity of the government coalition and the failure of the Prime Minister ,in managing and taking stock of the overall function of the government plus the continued overall discontentment and dissatisfaction within government backbenchers”.

The two MPs also oppose the signing of the PACER Plus trade agreement, which they say was signed prematurely and without sufficient consultation.

MP Tasso also explained that on July 30, 2017, the name U-Bloc was changed to ‘Workers Party for Vanuatu Development’.

The Opposition bloc now commands 10 Members.

In response to the decision of the two MPs to return to the Opposition, the Government Public Relations Officer (PRO), Hilaire Bule, said their move, is their democratic right.

He went on to stress that the two MPs joined the Government of their own accord, not at the request of the Charlot Salwai’s Government.

“When they performed a customary ceremony of mats to the Prime minister at the time of their move, they told him that they came with no conditions but to support a stable government and because being with the Opposition does not allow them to implement their policies objectives,” said Mr Bule.

The Government PRO added: “The reason for their move back to the Opposition is totally unfounded and untrue.

“They may have an agenda which they did not want to disclose to the public but otherwise the Charlot Salwai government is still commanding the majority of 42 MPs and have carried out numerous economic and social development, including major infrastructures this country has ever seen, major steps forward in education and sports and reformation and changes taken place, taking place and in the pipeline including tourism and others.

“The country is politically stable under the leadership of PM Salwai and this Government remains committed to the nation’s development goals, until the end of its term in 2020”.

The two MPs move back to the Opposition has no effect on the present coalition government, said PRO Bule.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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