Vanuatu Opposition

Vanuatu opposition calls for engagement with New Caledonia loyalists

New Caledonia last week narrowly rejected independence from France, but a third referendum is likely in 2022.

Ralph Regenvanu, who is a staunch advocate for decolonisation in the region, says New Caledonia is Vanuatu's closest neighbour and home to the largest group of ni-Vanuatu abroad.

He says New Caledonia's independence is the goal of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, for which it was set up.

"We also need to convince the anti-independence lobby that New Caledonia can be a viable state in the Pacific like the other states in the Pacific," he said.

Vanuatu Opposition asks where stimulus payments are

RNZ Pacific understands the Employment Stabilisation Payment to workers and the SME Stimulus Payment for July and August are yet to be paid.

Many businesses were reportedly preparing to lay off more workers in the wake of the downturn caused by Covid-19.

The Leader of the Opposition, Ralph Regenvanu, said the delays in the payments were defeating their purpose.

He said the delay could not be attributed to the case of the government not having the money.

Vanuatu Opposition claim police bias in govt investigation

Police are currently investigating an allegedly unlawful contract issued by the Minister of Public Utilities, Jay Ngwele.

Regenvanu asked the acting police commissioner to explain why his staff were reportedly working with private investigators who were close friends of Ngwele.

Regenvanu claimed the investigations were "biased".

He also queried aspects of the investigation into the alleged contract which concerned the tarsealing of a road in Paray area in the captial of Port Vila.

Torres MP moves to Vanuatu Opposition

Emelee, who is the single MP from the Vanuatu National Development Party, tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Bob Loughman last week.

He said he could no longer accept watching the government unravel without Loughman's office holding anyone accountable for allegations of public misconduct, misappropriation, and insubordination.

In July the Torres MP was removed by the prime minister from the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, only a couple of weeks after being nominated by Loughman himself.

Vanuatu Opposition taking suspension to court

On Tuesday night parliament voted to suspend the 22 opposition MPs for two sittings, over its boycott of the first sitting last week.

Opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu said the vote by the government members was an outrage.

He said the first sitting had been boycotted many times in the past.

"Boycotting the first sitting of a session is a parliamentary practice in Vanuatu that has been going for 40 years.

Vanuatu Opposition boycotts parliament over COVID-19 breach

It was revealed that Climate Change Minister Bruno Leingkon entered a quarantine area, but still showed up at Parliament today without isolating himself.

The opposition opted to boycott the sitting over concerns surrounding Mr Leingkon's actions.

Opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu said Mr Leingkon had threatened the health of members of parliament and its staff.

Fellow opposition member, Pentecost MP Charlot Salwai, said it was unfair that the minister had not followed rules that other ni-Vanuatu had been adhering too.

Ralph Regenvanu to lead Vanuatu opposition bloc

According to our correspondent in Vanuatu, Mr Regenvanu was nominated in a meeting on Wednesday by the 22 MPs in the opposition bloc.

Former prime minister Charlot Salwai has been chosen to be his deputy.

Mr Salwai nominated Mr Regenvanu as the opposition's candidate for prime minister in parliament on Monday.

He lost to the newly elected prime minister and president of the Vanuaku Party, Bob Loughman 31 votes to 21.

     

Vanuatu opposition accuses MP of taking jobs as bribes

Christophe Emelee, a former parliamentary secretary, is accused of accepting his previous role after a failed motion of no confidence against the prime minister.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports the opposition whip Jay Ngwele as claiming Mr Emelee took the job as a bribe in exchange for support against the motion.

Mr Ngwele has also accused another MP, Bruno Lengkon, of taking the same job for the same reasons.

Both MPs insist they accepted their posts in good faith.

     

Vanuatu Opposition Leader files criminal complaint against PM

The move comes a week after an Appeal Court ruled against the Government's creation of Parliamentary Secretaries, declaring them 'void and of no effect'.

Ishmael Kalsakau accuses the government of using the positions to shore up their support and misusing public funds for the salaries.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported the latest move was in line with his promise to use every legal avenue to ensure that justice was seen to be done.

Mr Kalsakau said he would also file a number of leadership cases after the Independence celebrations are concluded.

Vanuatu Opposition prepares criminal complaint against PM

Opposition Whip, Jay Ngwele said the Court of Appeal ruled that the parliamentary secretary positions are unconstitutional given there are no legal provisions for such positions.

The Opposition is concerned that enormous public funds have been used to fund these positions, which were created in 2016.