Former Prime Minister Charlot Salwai has performed a custom ceremony to the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs at the Chiefs nakamal.

Speaking at the ceremony yesterday afternoon, President of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs, Chief Simeon Poilapa, said ceremonies such as the one performed by MP Salwai is normal in life. Chief Poilapa said when a child makes a mistake, the child always returns to his parents and ask for forgiveness to maintain the relationship.

Chief Poilapa acknowledged Mr Salwai, who is also a chief, and it is an example to all chiefs in Vanuatu.

Mr Salwai acknowledged the chiefs and conveyed his apologies to the Head of State, Parliament, the Government, the Judiciary, the National Council of Chiefs, and chiefs throughout Vanuatu.

“I extend my apologies to the national council of churches, the national council of women, the youth council, parents, youths including all people with special needs and all children. I apologize for what I have done, and I am asking everyone to forgive me,” said Mr Salwai.

Responding on behalf of the Malvatumauri council of chiefs and the government, Chief Alicta Vuti said elders have always reminded that tradition and culture are alive. He said traditional beliefs guide individuals on the paths taken.

“Our tradition has peace and order,” he said. “Today, I would like to acknowledge all Pentecost chiefs, and Mr Salwai for their presentation and on behalf of all chiefs, citizens of Vanuatu and the government, we accept your apology. We have noticed the ability and respect you have for your custom.

“Your walk in life is long but do not forget that once completed, you will return here. During that time, I promise to you and your chiefs that our leaders will come and finish this journey.

“Once again, we accept your apology on behalf of all citizens of Vanuatu. Your determination to address the chiefs is something we truly appreciate and respect. Today, you will walk with this red mat as a token of respect and forgiveness given to you.”

Speaking on behalf of all Pentecost chiefs, Chief Bubunba Vincent acknowledged the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs for accepting MP Salwai’s apology.

“With the speeches given today and the true meaning of it, we thank you for accepting the apology,” he said.

“We respect and cherish our discussions in the nakamal. We acknowledge the Malvatumauri council always for its commitment and assistance.” The ceremony saw the exchange of customary gifts between both parties, which concluded with a prayer and kava.

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