Dissolution before disunity: Vanuatu PM

VANUATU Prime Minister Charlot Salwai says he ‘will not tolerate political attitudes’ from MPs who will destabilise the country, its economy and the people.

The remarks came amidst exchanges of political comments with a new political bloc led by Malekula MP Sato Kilman and supported by Opposition Leader MP Ishmael Ksalakau on a number of national issues, including the question of vacation of seats by a MP.

Mr Salwai said if the country continues to face political uncertainties by various political groups or politicians engaged in what he described as “political instability”, then he will seek the Council of Ministers (COM)’s approval to request the Head of State dissolve the national parliament.

“If the country continues to experience political instability ride, and worse comes to worse, then i will seek a decision from the Council of Ministers and approval for the Head of State to dissolve the parliament and call for fresh general elections,” he said.

“It will be then that the current MPs will have to prove themselves before their electors, if they had done anything concrete to improve the life of the people economically and socially.

“I am more concerned about the welfare of the people.’’

“About women who are seen carrying firewood to support their families, others struggling to make VT20 from their stalls to support their families, students and their education, economic and social issues. I am more concerned about government departments not going enough to control employment permits, about far too many foreign labourers coming into the country, about getting more Ni-Vans into businesses they could and should do.

“These are the issues that past governments have failed to handle properly.

“My government is addressing these issues.

“I want to see these situations change to improve the livelihood of the people and for them to be equal economically, which is why we need a tax regime, which is not yet in place.

“It will be then that the current MPs will have to tell their electors what they have done for their country. And it should be clear that the people do not need someone to tell them if an MP has performed satisfactorily during their term or not.”

He stressed the importance of restoring confidence with business and development partners, saying it takes time, especially after the country has gone through a political crisis such as more votes of no confidence and changes in the government.

On promoting tourism in Vanuatu, Mr Salwai said once the runway extension to the Bauerfield airport is completed, the government will want to see direct flights from China to Vanuatu with Chinese tourists who will be prepared to inject money directly into the national economy.

“We want Chinese tourists who will arrive into Vanuatu by air to actually spend money in the country, instead of large quantity of tourists who come into Vanuatu but spend little money and leave,” he said.