A well respected high chief from North Ambae, Chief Jacques Sese wishes to advise the Government not to rush to relocate his people to other islands.
“The Manaro Volcanic eruption has gone down and the natural vegetation is returning to life fast. We are already enjoying eating bush cabbage again and the leaves of our island taros and bananas and kava are growing back up fast”, he confirms.
Regarding relocation, he says the first question all parents ask is why the urgency, where to, how long and what about their children.
“Certainly there is an eruption but there is no clear indication as to why people should relocate”, he queries.
He calls on all teams from the Central Government to respect the official channel of communication from the National Government, through the Provincial Government to the Chiefs Nakamals.
He boarded a ship to travel to Port Vila to hear the truth from the “trunk of the Government system” and clear the air of confusion among the public on the island. He intends to speak to the Prime Minister on the issue.
He says what he expects to hear is an official advice to move to secure areas of Ambae and if the worst gets to the worst then his people can relocate to another island as the last resort.
Chief Sese has been to the Department of Geo-hazard and National Disaster Management Office to get the right answers to his questions explaining that communication cannot flow through with correct Government information because “wrong individuals are giving out wrong information.
Also the suspension of the President of Penama Province from all evacuation related meeting does not help either. “This is not the right time to suspend Mr. Alban Garaevui from North Ambae, who was elected by his people to serve them in Government”, the Chief adds.
He also disagrees with the decision to relocate school students. “Each school has its own budget so it is my hope that moving our students to other schools won’t complicate how the budget is used”, he says.
He says so far he has received his own fears with answers to questions including
• What does the future hold for farmers who depend on their crops for a living?
• What will become of permanent properties owned by prominent families?
• Will the Government compensate them and kava farmers for leaving their businesses behind?
• And the cattle on plantations and goats and pigs?
Chief Sese wishes to thank the government and chiefs of Ambae in Port Vila and people who work hard to find solutions to the current natural disaster. “This issue belongs to every one of us, let us all make sure that there is no communication breakdown between us and our people in the villages on the island”, he advises.