The leader of the new political bloc, MP Sato Kilman and Leader of Opposition, MP Ishmael Alatoi Kalsakau are adamant in their call for Prime Minister Charlot Salwai to deal with the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), and maintain the integrity of the current Government.
MP Kilman said that it was good to get a response from PM Salwai on issues that were first raised during a press conference with other members of the bloc, including MP Jay Ngwele, MP Marc Ati and MP Gracia Chadrack.
“We want the PM to hear our call, and we thank him for his response, yet the PM has fall short of fully answering our queries — this is what the people of this country want to hear,” he said.
“The PM has listed developments that occurred during the term of this government but he did not state the facts about its future implications on our children and the sustainability of these projects.
“He has stated that education is free, however he did not explain any further if it was totally free or just a reduction on the tuitions. Many schools around the country are in a deteriorating state, not all teachers are paid their entitlements, even the newly intakes have not yet received their salaries.”
Mr Kilman said the primary role of the government is to provide primary services to the people and that the Members of Parliament claimed to be misled by the veteran politician were not confused, knowing exactly what they are doing or say in light of the formation of the new bloc of 23 MPs.
“All 20 members of the new bloc from the government side are not affiliated with any political group but to this new bloc, with five members from the Opposition. All we want is for the PM to address all outstanding issues because the answers given on today’s (Thursday) Daily Post front page are not good enough,” he said.
“Vanuatu wants straight answers.”
The Leader of Opposition claimed PM Salwai has tried to avoid reality in his response to their call and questioned the integrity of the Salwai-led government.
“The PM confirmed seeking legal advice and refers to the Court to make further clarification of the judgement of Natuman’s suspended sentence, and for what? while he (PM) continues to entertain a DPM convicted of crime in that high position, where is the integrity of this country?” he asked.
“What picture are we trying to show our people? On the other hand, Mr Natuman as a veteran leader should do the honorable move to step down and give the seat to another who is capable to help run this country.”
Mr Kalsakau claimed they are aware that the State Law Office has allegedly advised the PM that the DPM needs to vacate his seat as a Member of Parliament by April 16.
“The PM has confirmed writing a letter to the Speaker, does that mean he has asked the Speaker to extend Mr. Natuman stay in parliament? this is what we need to know. He needs to address these issues and not talk about numbers. I am in consultation with leaders in the government and its part of my duty as Leader of Opposition.
“The statements i send to the media are to guide PM Salwai’s government.”
He also questioned the PM on stability, saying: “The PM has talked about stability, is that stability in continuous entertainment of a convicted DPM? the projects his government is undertaking is going to put our future generation in great debt, there’s the VAT increase and he has not address the point that this nation will pay for all the developments taking place”.
The Opposition Leader has also called on the Prime minister and his government to respond to the serious allegation of a possible military base by China in Vanuatu, instead of having ‘insiders’ talking.
“This is a serious matter, and it has been on headlines in countries around the region and internationally, so when we are questioning leadership of Vanuatu through a Member of Parliament, he was quick to conclude he has the number if there was a motion- we want the PM to lead this nation in a responsible manner,” he said.
The Prime minister has issued a statement in response to the China military base allegation yesterday morning, refuting the claim in an article by Fairfax Media.