Opposition Leader Natapei calls on PM Kilman to resign over Phocea improprieties

Natapei calls on Sato Kilman to resign over the matter of state ministers, MPs and government political advisers as accomplices in the illegal visits on the Phocea. He also raises the VNPF saga and the ministerially unilaterally planned extension of the Unelco concession. Daily Post‘s front page today headlines Natapei’s call for the PM’s resignation if he does not discipline all concerned in the ship fiasco and especially those already convicted by the courts for serious (citizenship?) offences. Natapei says that if Prime Minister Kilman refuses to discipline those involved, then the people of Vanuatu will hold him fully accountable. They probably do already, it has to be added.

Natapei counselled everyone at Ohlen Mataso this week against selling their birthright, contrary to the ideals of Independence. Many people are likely to feel it’s being stolen from them, it also has to be added. Natapei observed, Len Garae points out in the Daly Post, that money is being used by rich politicians to secure their seats. The poor candidates are ignored by voters.

Phocea did not lead the Radio News bulletin this morning and the weekly Vanuatu Times had no mention of it at all — as if it had not happened.

Daily Post says an opium-like substance was found on Phocea. It also has the Minister for Foreign Affairs returning from overseas late last night likely to be searched on arrival at Bauerfield, but the paper could not delay printing.

Daily Post also has the former Commissioner of the defunct Vanuatu Maritime Authority (VMA), Less Napuati, saying that anything to do with registration of the yacht Phocea by the VMA had to be a forgery of his signature. Did the ship arrive in such a clandestine fashion (on the wrong side of Ifira) because it was troubled by the legality of its papers? Who would be questioning those papers so closely anyway and was anyone going to allege they were improperly done by the VMA? And why? But such a lot of people had to get on board to receive handing over photos or have photos taken with ministerial wives, or to party on.

And then there’s the Citizenship’s (former or previous?) Commissioner, Joe Arnambath, in court for “obtaining citizenships by false and misleading statements” —presumably for other people as he must surely be the holder of Vanuatu citizenship himself. And then there are those from Tonga and Samoa who were formerly found guilty of the same offence, but allowed to get away then. At least one of them, however, acknowledges guilt this time, but the court cannot see fit to detain any of them.

Then we’ve had the lady on board Phocea obstructing the police and the wonderful coincidence of the ship’s owner bumping into a ni-Vanuatu at the Singapore Thai embassy while all hell’s breaking loose in Vila. Phocea‘s owner was amazingly bearing a Vanuatu diplomatic bag sticker in Singapore (status symbol?) so he could get photographed with it. Why was this so important? To prove he wasn’t on the Phocea and therefore was out of the way and the authorities should let the yacht go on its way unimpeded.

The Independent dismisses much of the story and sees nothing to be concerned about a red diplomatic bag being found on board the illegally entered vessel — just a poor join-the-dots plan to end the government leader’s time in office, the only bit of evidence of anything at all. But the story isn’t over yet.

Internal Affairs Minister Wells rejects the Vt 29,000 a month proposal for the minimum wage from the Tripartite Labor Advisory Council. He asked the Council to reconsider its submission. Labour Commissioner Kaluat said the Labour Party seems to be the main body supporting the increase, but “we did not get too much comment from the public.” The Council will re-consider the matter.

Daily Post Letters carry a long one concerning more Monkey Business at the VNPF. It’s new monkey business, too, and there’s quite a lot of it. The new groundsman earns Vt 100,000 more a month than many hard-working staff, says the letter.

Watch this space. More on Monday.