Dear Editor,

On 30th June the Daily Post covered a news item under the heading “Pentecost chiefs against relocation of PENAMA Headquarters to Ambae”. A very similar story appeared again last Saturday (1st August) under the heading “Pentecost Chiefs call on Government to reconsider relocation and suspension of PENAMA SG”. A few things unclear to the public eyes need to be clarified here to balance things out a bit.

Firstly, the reference to “Pentecost chiefs” is misleading and not wholly correct. I met with a former senior civil servant from Pentecost (I will refer to as Mr X for privacy’s sake) who is known for his frankness and objective opinion on development issues and in discussing the matter he lightheartedly cursed and swore with a laugh (as he usually does), then clarified that the so-called “Pentecost chiefs” is only a handful of disgruntled chiefs around the Loltong area who have a huge conflict of interest and who are the ones instigating the push to bring the provincial HQ back from Saratamata to Loltong. Mr X further revealed that the people in the said village had actually intended to push for the Loltong area to be turned into a ‘municipality’ like Lenakel and the others and that all the workers who would serve in the new ‘municipality’ would be the villagers themselves. This is coming from a veteran public servant from Pentecost whom I highly respect and whom I’ve known for many years to be frank and forthright in his views on national development matters. He takes no crap from anybody. There you have it, from the horse’s mouth!

Mr X further pointed out that there’s no infrastructure in the area, very hilly landscape, very little water, no expansion space for a provincial HQ, etc. etc, so setting up the provincial HQ there wasn’t a great idea in the first place.

Secondly, as for the suspended SG (who is from Pentecost and from Loltong — as I understand), Mr Garoleo needs to understand protocol. When a State Minister visits the provincial Government, it is his official duty to be there to welcome the national leader and to facilitate his official visit. Civil servants like Garoleo do have their political affiliations but when it comes to serving the State they impartially and professionally deliver services required of them. If Mr Garoleo is taking sides with his chiefs and the relocation of the provincial HQ by the current Government so bothers him, he can do the honourable thing and resign. We have too many very qualified and experienced Penama citizens who can take up that SG role. What’s so hard about it?

Thirdly, as regards the volcano, we won’t have another huge volcanic eruption like the 2017 one for many years to come now that the sleeping giant lake has blown its vent. By the way, the new fauna regrowth at Lobenben is catching the attention of tourism experts already. Now that long haul flights between Australia and Bali (Indonesia) will be a big challenge (with Qantas having sent its jumbos to the desert), this might be Balihai’s opportunity to shine?

Anyway, the national government has made its decision to relocate. The chiefs from the village should calm down so we can all get back to work to advance PENAMA’s development interests. And DP, can we now put this matter to rest?

Yumi PENAMA! Yumi 40!

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