A prominent Maewo chief is calling for the implementation of the customs governance system in the country.
Chief Moliaute Jonah Toakanase said it is time for everyone to unite together to achieve their economic rights and benefits.
Chief Toakanase made the statement in regards to the economic status of the country, asking what some of the individual benefits Vanuatu has achieved to enhance its wellbeing, livelihood and wealth are after 38 years of Independence.
He urged all 52 Members of Parliament in Vanuatu to work together and address this longstanding matter which is enslaving the people from the original ideology and philosophy of independence and economic struggle.
He emphasized that so far, community investment is good however individual investment remains a major challenge.
Chief Toakanase said foreign economic policy adapted in Vanuatu has resulted in the people facing the challenge of gaining individual economy benefits, rights and wealth.
“We are slaves under our current governing system,” he said. “With the current system, we have faced a rapid increase in our cost of living where minimum wages are low, VAT increases and transportation rates are high including all business investment strategies.
He said for too long there has been talk about economy plans but the people are still slaves of their own governing system as it is not originally “ours”.
Chief Toakanase referred back to 1979 when the Nagriamel movement President back then, late Jimmy Stevens had opted to use the custom governance system but was turned down after he refused to sign a memorandum leading to the signing of the Constitution.
He also mentioned an exchange of notes which took place between the United Kingdom, the Northern Ireland and the government of France on the Independence of Vanuatu. He elaborated that the exchange note saw the name Sovereign economic state of New Hebrides changed to the Sovereign state of New Hebrides.
The chief said custom governance system is the way forward to address the economy challenges faced within the country.
He is calling to the John Frum and Kapiel movement in the southern region, Natatok movement in the central region and the Nagriamel movement to unite and work together in the custom ideology, philosophy and doctrines to create political stability in 2020 and carry Vanuatu forward to realise its economic promise land after 38 years of walking around the wilderness of political slavery.
He said through unity, the visions of the late Jimmy Stevens can be implemented. He recited a famous Vanuatu proverb, saying the people are already standing on the back of the turtle but they are still searching for foreign turtles such as Australia and New Zealand.
Chief Toakanase is appealing for an immediate review to address the economic challenges faced by the people of Vanuatu.