5 Feb 2016

Vanuatu MPs held on island to control movement

2:57 pm on 5 February 2016
MPs in Vanuatu's Graon Mo Jastis Pati show their spending reports. From left: Alfred Maoh, Gillion Williams, Ralph Regenvanu, Daniel Nalet.

MPs in Vanuatu's Graon Mo Jastis Pati Photo: Supplied

The community on the small Vanuatu island of Pele is billeting scores of newly-elected MPs whose movements are being controlled in a bid to form the country's new government.

The MPs are part of a bloc of political groupings, reportedly comprising over two thirds of Vanuatu's 52 MPs, who this week agreed to commit to forming a new coalition government.

They have decamped to Pele, north of Vanuatu's main islands of Efate, where the leader of the Graon Mo Jastis Pati, Ralph Regenvanu said it is easier to control the movement of MPs.

"By controlling movement in and out of the camp we are trying to control bribery and people being offered positions and so on, to move to the other side. So when we can actually see who is coming in and out we can have much better control of our MPs."

Ralph Regenvanu said the MPs are staying with the community rather than expensive hotels because often in these cases bills go unpaid, which they want to avoid.

On the other side, a group formed around the care taker government led by Sato Kilman is camping in Eratap village, about 10 minutes drive from Port Vila.

Parliament will meet on 11th February to elect a new prime minister.