Vanuatu Parliament

Vanuatu Speaker apologises for unconstitutional move

The bill sought to change the constitution to formalise the role of parliamentary secretaries, quasi-ministerial positions held by MPs that have existed since 2012.

The bill was passed by parliament but referred to the court by the President for legal clarification.

The Daily Post reports the Speaker saying the Supreme Court ruled the constitutional changes in the bill could only be enacted following a referendum.

He said he was sorry the government failed to work within the constitution.

     

Vanuatu Teachers Union threatening to call strike

Willie Abiut said a proposal calling for $US3.45 million to settle the anomalies and $US5.2 million to settle the benefits had been lodged with the Development Committee of Officials and the Council of Ministers.

The union is waiting for parliament to sit in June to approve the payments and is confident MPs will accede to the proposal, Mr Abiut said.

"That's the question of waiting for their approval but the government is responding. They're giving us quite a few figures of settling the issues so they're answering what the VTU is asking," he said.

Vanuatu protest expected over cabinet move

Charlot Salwai wants to increase the numbers in cabinet from 13 to 17.

Our correspondent said the protestors are likely to be from all sectors of Vanuatu society.

Meanwhile, the Daily Post newspaper reported the opposition leader, Ishmael Kalsakau, saying he has filed a legal challenge to the prime minister's move, saying extra ministries are far too costly at this time for the country.

The paper has calculated that four more ministries would cost more than $US4 million dollars annually.

     

Vanuatu Parliament to debate no confidence motion this afternoon

Both the Government and the Opposition bloc claim to have numbers.

The Government claims to have 33 Members of Parliament on its side and the Opposition also claims to have 30 MPs on its side to topple Prime Minister Salwai.

During the parliament session yesterday more MPs were sitting on the Government side than that of the Opposition side.

The Government bloc had 33 MPs after the court case on Unity Day, while the Opposition claimed it has numbers and maintained 30 over last weekend.

Former Vanuatu deputy PM to appeal ejection from parliament

Joe Natuman resigned last week after the Speaker of Parliament barred him from entering the chamber and declared his seat vacant.

The speaker's decision followed Mr Natuman being given a two-year suspended sentence in March, after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Yesterday, the magistrate's court rejected Mr Natuman's bid for a judicial review challenging his removal from parliament.

Outside the court, Mr Natuman said he would appeal to the Supreme Court.

Vanuatu seeks assistance to beef up security at parliamentary chambers

This follows the discovery of an unspent shotgun cartridge in the public gallery by parliamentary staff a fortnight ago.

The Vanuatu Police Force is investigating the incident.

At the same time security measures have been stepped up at parliament.

The acting clerk of parliament, Leon Teter, said the incident underscores the urgent need for security to be beefed up in the house during parliament's sittings.

Mr Teter said visitors to the public gallery will now have to go through security screening, including magnometers and metal detectors.

 

Vanuatu parliament unites in opposition to PACER Plus

Vanuatu said last week that it was not yet ready to sign the trade and aid deal for Pacific nations with Australia and New Zealand, joining Fiji and Papua New Guinea in their opposition.

RNZI reports the opposition leader Ishmael Kalsakau said he is happy the government had finally heard the concerns raised on behalf of the people about the possible impacts the agreement would have on Vanuatu.

Mr Kalsakau believes the agreement will mean more cheap imported goods, which he says may contribute to an increase in the number of cases of non-communicable diseases in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu Parliament steps up security following discovery of ammunition

This follows the surprise discovery of ammunition of a short gun in the public gallery by parliament security staff.

Information collected from parliament corridor said that that ammunition was found on one the seats in the public gallery.  

A government statement said It is expected that the ammunition was introduced through parliament chambers during the opening of the first ordinary session of Parliament last Thursday,

 

Photo by Government of Vanuatu 

     

Vanuatu security and depleted Opposition

He made the call in his address at the opening of the First Ordinary Session of parliament in Port Vila yesterday.

In his response, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai said he agreed with the concerns raised by the President.

He said action was already being taken to connect all the provincial police posts to a central system in Port Vila on crime daily, and police recruitment.

PM's PR Officer Hilaire Bule says 46 of the 52 MPs sat on the government side of the chamber, 5 on the opposition side and Deputy Opposition Leader, Sato Kilman sat alone as an independent.

Vanuatu Govt set to face another no confidence motion

The motion from nine opposition MPs was lodged on Thursday, according to local reports.

The Opposition was absent on Thursday morning, prompting a delay until next Monday of the special sitting, but the speaker today called the session off after a request from the prime minister, to allow Parliamentary committees, convened to report on several topics including the Constitution, to give their findings.

The motion is now set to be tabled net Thursday.