“In line with custom principles, I hereby confirm Meralava, Merik and Gaua Council of Chiefs nominee, Chief Willie Plasua, as the new President of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs”.
The announcement was made by the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs President, Chief Henry Manlaewia (oldest member of National Council of Chiefs) who presided over the custom election of the new election yesterday morning.
In fact it took three chiefly representatives of Torba Council of Chiefs about one minute to agree to Meralava, Merik and Gaua Council of Chiefs President, Chief Willie Plasua as the next President of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, before he was sworn in by the Attorney General’s Office yesterday afternoon.
Chief Plasua is a former President of Torba’s Provincial Government.
In the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs Meeting yesterday morning, Tanna chiefly representative, Chief Willie Lop moved for Torba Council of Chiefs to take the Malvatumauri Presidency and was seconded by Malampa.
In fact Sanma came on to Head the Malvatumauri on the last Council based on a customary request by Torba that it was not ready then. “But now the Torba Council of Chiefs is confident that it is ready to take on the challenge”, said its spokesman.
Principal Electoral Officer of the Electoral Office, Father Charles Vatu, declared that Chief Willie Plasua has been duly elected President of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs in the Nakamal by customary consensus on October 29.
In his first address to the Malvatumauri, the new president said, “This morning I wish to confirm my sincere gratitude to all of you who have contributed towards my election as the next President of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs.
“Today’s walkabout is unique because it is all in the spirit of custom. As our member from Torba has said that we from Torba do not speak without reason but now I wish to express my deep gratitude to you all chiefs from Tafea, Shefa, Malampa, Sanma and my colleagues of Torba for your faith and trust in me to honour me with this auspicious position.
“I will also depend on you to help me to carry out the duties mandated to the President of the Malvatumauri tomorrow”.
While the Malvatumauri Act only speaks of the President, Chief Jimmy Meameadola of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs, suggested for the Malvatumauri members and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Jean Pierre Tom, to consider catering for a Deputy President and to have the Act amended to include “Deputy President” to run the Council in the absence of the President instead of the “oldest member of the Council” as directed by the Act.
He said the responsibilities of the President are immense and deep and reach out to the whole country like the firm roots of the nabanga tree.
The new Head must be prepared to face negative comments in the social media, Chief Meameadola said.
“This is why as the Head of the National Council of Chiefs; he must also have a Deputy to advise him. His Chief Executive Officer focuses on the Administration of the Malvatumauri while his Deputy is his Adviser who is also always there beside him to advise him while we (chiefs) return to our individual islands”, Chief Meameadola said.
The consensus is for the President of Malvatumauri to work for all the chiefs in the country and not just his Province.
When the new Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs sits, the consensus is to resolve that an amendment of the Malvatumauri Act be drafted for the Minister responsible to table in parliament.