Members of Parliament for Ambae MP Jay Ngwele, Tongoa MP Pakoa Songi and Tanna MP Tom Noam, performed a custom ceremony yesterday afternoon to the Vice-President and Acting President of the Union of Moderate Parties, Jacques Meriango, to move from the Iauko Group to the Union of the Moderate Parties (UMP). The ceremony was witness by other UMP MPs and the Lord Mayor of Port Vila Ulrich Sumptoh and other UMP political supporters within and outside the Government.
In a remark on behalf of the 3 former Iauko Group MPs, MP Ngwele said their decision has come amidst what they call a “need to support and strengthen Prime Minister Charlot Salwai’s Government in order to pass many long awaited laws such as the Integrity Bill and support the present Government initiatives for the better economic and social developments of the people and the country of Vanuatu”.
“We have stated our reasons in a letter we have written to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition Ishmael Kalsakau and the Acting Leader of the Iauko Group about the decision we have taken to join the Union of the Moderate Parties today. UMP is a strong political party that has existed before, during and after Independence of Vanuatu and had contributed a lot on the development of the country.
“Today we relinquish all the positions that we held in the Opposition Parliamentary Group.
“Today we have joined the Union of the Moderate Parties.
“Today we have become MPs on the government side.
“We will from here on support the UMP party in all its good political initiative, and we will support the coalition government led by the Prime Minister.
“We have come to perform this custom ceremony during the daylight so everyone can see and not at night. We are now UMP MPs in parliament and on government side,” Ngwele declared as the 3 MPs presented a tusked pig, mats, food and kava as a symbol of reconciliation to the Vice-President and the Acting President of UMP and the UMP National Council.
In response, Meriango expressed UMP’s appreciation for the 3 MPs to join the party and formally welcomed them into the party.
“On behalf of the UMP political party, I welcome you all, honorable MPs into the UMP Nakamal and today you are members of the UMP family,” remarked Meriango, amidst the shout of the UMP slogan by supporters.
Following this move the Union of the Moderate Parties will now have 8 MPs.