Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Norris Jack Kalmet is adamant he will not resign as a Minister nor join the Reunification of Movements for Change (RMC) political party in the Opposition bloc.
Daily Post was informed Minister Kalmet made his stand clear after the RMC Secretary General (SG) Member of Parliament (MP) Marcelino Barthelemy gave him a 7-day notice to resign as Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and join RMC.
In a letter dated February 10 addressed to Minister Kalmet, RMC SG MP Barthelemy said the National Executive Bureau in its meeting of 6th February 2021 discussed Kalmet’s position within RMC and concluded that he is still a member of RMC since there were no official resignation letter.
The meeting also considered that Minister Kalmet: did not comply with the Party’s decision to set up the Government with RMC; he maintained his position to witness in the Supreme Court against RMC president Charlot Salwai which means that he stands against the Party Policies; he affiliated with the G10 bloc; and he accepted on 25 January 2021 the proposal of the Union of Moderates Party (UMP) National Executive to coordinate the upcoming Provincial election for Efate constituency.
“However, the Party strongly believe you are still an RMC MP and the executive gives you seven (7) days’ notice as from the date of this letter to resign from your position as Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and to join RMC,” the RMC SG stated.
“If you have not tendered your resignation letter to the Prime Minister within the period, the national executive will consider that you have resigned from RMC and will request the Speaker to invoke legal process under section 4(1) (2) (3) (4) and (5) of the Member of Parliament (Vacation of Seats) Act [CAP 174] to vacate your seat as MP.”
But Minister Norris said there is no need for him to join RMC again because he is still a member, because he hasn’t resigned from the party.
The minister said he never accepted the UMP proposal and had withdrawn his signature from the document. He added the interim RMC Efate Regional Committee have 10 proposed RMC candidates who have been shortlisted for the Shefa Provincial election.
“I would like to remind you that the political force in Efate is driven by me with a powerful mandate of over 2,300 voters,” he stated in his response letter to the RMC SG.
In regards to the Supreme Court case where he was a witness against the RMC President (Salwai), Norris said the information is not accurate because all of his statements in court targeted MP Matai Seremaiah who came to his residence to persuade him to withdraw his signature from the motion of no confidence because some positions were offered to his group.
He added that motion was initiated by RMC SG Barthelemy himself.
“I have supported the Salwai government to the end during the last legislature with my group and i would like to invite RMC MPs on the Opposition side to join the Government to work together and build a prosperous future for our people,” Minister Norris stated.
Minister Norris said it is up the RMC National Congress to decide on his membership with RMC but he will not resign as Minister of Lands.
“I will pledge my absolute support to the present Government until the end of its term,” he said.
Meanwhile RMC President Charlot Salwai has requested the Speaker of Parliament to invoke legal process under section 4(1) (2) (3) (4) and (5) of the Members of Parliament (Vacation of Seats) Act for former RMC MP Simeon Seoule.
In a letter dated 10th of February 2021 which was addressed to Speaker of Parliament Gracia Shadrack, the RMC President confirmed that MP Seoule who is the current Minister of Education contested the 2020 General Election under RMC.
Mr. Salwai said Minister Seoule was officially declared a successful candidate for RMC in the Epi Constituency, and he was a RMC MP until he decided to tender his resignation from the RMC party on the 5th of November 2020.
“We confirm the Party’s National Executive Bureau was served with the MP’s resignation letter, deliberated on his request and did accept his formal resignation on the 6th of February 2021.
“We also attached the acceptance of Minister’s Seule resignation effective of the 5th of November 2020,” Mr. Salwai stated.
The RMC head said they are informing the Speaker of the resignation from RMC party by MP Seoule, pursuant to section 2 (1) of the Members of Parliament (Vacation of Seats) Act [CAP 174] so he could invoke the legal process to vacate MP Seoule’s Membership of Parliament.
After resigning from the political party, Minister Seoule informed the Speaker of Parliament about his affiliation.
The Private Secretary of the Speaker’s office, Francois Chani, has confirmed they have received the RMC president’s letter.
However, no action has been taken at this stage as they are waiting for legal advice.