14 Feb 2005

Watchdog group in Vanuatu says Parliament should immediately drop plans for bigger Cabinet

4:52 pm on 14 February 2005

The watchdog group, Transparency International Vanuatu, is calling on the new government in Vanuatu to immediately drop some of the controversial constitutional amendments ushered in by the previous government.

Last year Parliament decided to limit the options for votes of no confidence and gave the Prime Minister the right to expel from Parliament MPs who switched allegiance.

It also extended the Parliamentary term and increased the number of ministries from 13 to 17.

Parliament sits this week and spokesperson for TIV, Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson, says they would like this larger Cabinet done away with immediately.

"Basically we are going to have a Parliament of Ministers, and the cost of that in a small nation like Vanuatu is huge. Like putting 28 members on the board of Air Vanuatu which has one plane. There are some costs when people can barely pay their school fees - it seems like a mockery."

Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson says Parliament should also release the findings of a Constitutional Review Committee and fully prepare the public for the referendum that is to be held on the changes.