President of Vanua’aku Party who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, Bob Loughman, was on Tongoa yesterday where he apologized to the people of Lumbukuti for events that took place in 2010 when the political party held its congress in the village.
The 37th National Congress of Vanua’aku Party was held on Tongoa and hosted by Lumbukuti village but differences in opinion arising from the congress meant that the hosts were abandoned.
At that same time in April 2010 the same congress hosted by Lumbukuti, was concluded in the village of Panita, still on Tongoa.
Yesterday Mr Loughman in his capacity as President of VP reconciled with the chiefs and people of Lumbukuti.
“I am asking for forgiveness for the differences in opinion that occurred in the 2010 congress,” Loughman said as he offered a pig, mats and local food to chief Tinapuamata and his people.
Loughman said despite the incident of 2010, he is happy that it was the congress on Tongoa that adopted the amended Constitution of Vanua’aku Party.
One of the important amendments is the removal of the obligation to convene annual congresses to ‘every two years’.
The VP head encouraged the people of Lumbukuti and Tongoa to set aside issues of the past and work together for the development of the island in a united spirit.
On behalf of Chief Tinapuamata of Lumbukuti, a chief representative said the chief accepts the apology.
The chief representative said what the President of VP did was traditionally heroic because of the custom ceremony performed to say sorry on Tongoa.
He then passed on the community’s apology because of the use of strong words against the delegates of the 2010 congress.
The community agreed to work with the government to develop their island.
Member of Parliament for Tongoa, Kalo Pakoa, recently affiliated with VP.
Deputy Prime Minister Loughman, as minister of Trade, Tourism and Cooperatives and encouraged Lumbukuti villagers to development their land to revive their cooperatives.