Paramount chiefs on Pentecost are calling on the government to reconsider its decision to move the PENAMA headquarters from Loltong, back to Saratamata, on Ambae.
The Pentecost chiefs claimed the 19 paramount chiefs that make the call include the Tanmwanok, the Tukoros and the Livoala paramount chiefs from throughout the Island of Pentecost.
Speaking to the Daily Post, the chiefs’ representatives in Port Vila said they believe the government will reconsider its decision on the issue after the 40th anniversary celebrations on July 30.
They claim they don’t stand alone, but have the support of all members of parliament (MPs) on Pentecost as well as leaders at all levels on the island communities, and the population of the island of the island at large throughout the country.
The chiefs also called on the government to reconsider and to reinstate the PENAMA Provincial Secretary Godfrey Garoleo, who is on suspension from duties.
“We trust the national government through the Council of Ministers (COM) will reconsider its previous decision to move the PENAMA Provincial Head Office back to Ambae,” they said.
“It is also our wish for the government to take this course. We also believe our call is justified for a number of reasons, including the fact that the volcano on Ambae are unpredictable and will continue to be a threat not only to the PENAMA Provincial Headquarters but also to the lives of the people in the years to come.
“The national government must consider the fact that donor partners will always consider the volcanic activities on Ambae when it comes to providing or financing of technical support towards the development of the provincial headquarters. Furthermore, the national government spent around Vt1.5 billion on the safety and security of the people of Ambae during the move to relocate the population of Ambae to other islands when the volcano erupted and move from Saratamata to Loltong.”
The Pentecost chiefs added Saratamata on Ambae had already proved to be detrimental to the physical development of the Provincial headquarters there because of the coastal erosion caused by climate change.
The chiefs said they believe the current government will consider the long-term expansion and the developments of the Provincial Headquarters and as well as the long-term safety and security of the population of Ambae.
“We the chiefs of Pentecost are always conscious of family unity, customs and cultures shared between the three islands of PENAMA, in the past and today and speak for the best interest for all the people of PENAMA,” they said.
“We call on the national government to consider our call, base on factors that we have presented and believe the Council of Ministers will reconsider its decisions based on these factors.”