15 Mar 2013

Vanuatu opposition leader outlines reasons for motion to remove PM

2:39 pm on 15 March 2013

The Vanuatu opposition leader, Edward Natapei, says he has confirmation that next Thursday a no confidence motion against Sato Kilman's government will be debated.

While conceding that his side may not have the numbers to topple the government, Mr Natapei says, among other things, the affairs surrounding the superyacht Phocea have damaged Vanuatu's reputation.

In all, he says, the motion is based on eight points.

"The first one being in relation to the Foreign Minister's visit to Papua New Guinea which was an embarrassment to us. If you remember correctly, I called on the Prime Minister to deal with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on this issue; he has not been able to deal with him and therefore we felt that was a failure on his part."

The second issue is the failure of the Prime Minister to handle with confidence and efficiency, matters concerning the vessel Phocea which - with the continued media attention - is eroding the sovereign respect that the Republic of Vanuatu once enjoyed.

The third is in relation to the Prime Minister's failure to reply in an honest manner over the reception of funds from a gentleman called Pascal Ahn Quan Saken. We have of course got hold of evidence that funds actually were donated towards the current Prime Minister's campaign and that came from the media.

The fourth issue is in relation to the Prime Minister's close association with Vanuatu's roving ambassador Madame Goiset and the nature of her commissioning arrangements which cause embarrassment to the Republic of Vanuatu. Madame Goiset has already been caught trying to submit large amounts of cash out of New Caledonia.

Now, the fifth one is the failure of the Prime Minister to stem corrupt practices within the civil service. Of particular note is the recent awarding of responsibility for dealing with visa applications to an entity involving a director-general by the Immigration Department under the same director-general.

The sixth point being the failure of the Prime Minister to recognise the lack of funding for many basic needs of the people of Vanuatu when he agreed to continue to build a convention centre using donor funds despite the country already having international class facilities.

The seventh point is that the Prime Minister's office publicly criticised the republic's custom chiefs for voicing their concern about the direction the Prime Minister is taking the Republic of Vanuatu.

The last point is that the honourable Prime MInister has placed his own interests above the nation's national and international interest and its sovereign integrity and credibility, and as such has not displayed the proper and required leadership qualities of a Prime Minister.

The Vanuatu opposition leader, Edward Natapei