Vanuatu Daily News Digest | Another GNU?

Daily Post reports today that just an hour before yesterday’s Opposition press conference, MP Isaac Hamariliu withdrew his support from the Opposition motion of no confidence in PM Kilman to become the new Minister of Lands. PM Kilman is reported today to be wanting to lead a Government of National Unity (GNU). Older Ni-Vanuatu will still recall the dis-unity which resulted from the Kalsakau and Leymang GNUs in the lead-up to the Santo Rebellion and Independence.

Whilst the Opposition would be happy to have a proper national unity government, MP Ralph Regenvanu said in the Opposition press conference yesterday, it would be on the condition the PM resign and everyone comes together as equals to "decide on how to build a government in the interests of the nation." He went on to say that a GNU could not be expected to work with Kilman in charge and presently commanding a minority government.

VP Leader Joe Natuman added emphatically "We feel that as head of the Government whose MPs were implicated in the bribery saga in court, tarnishing Vanuatu’s reputation, the the integrity of this nation, Parliament, and the government, he [Kilman] must do the right thing and step down," Natuman said. "The people of Vanuatu deserve better leaders."

In an interesting comment to this Digest news service today USP Professor Sue Farran wonders whether offering ministerial posts to relatively inexperienced MPs to induce them to support a minority government is not also a form of bribery. Prof Farran queries whether it is distinguishable, for example, from a cabinet reshuffle among senior members of an existing government. The Penal Code says ‘No person shall corruptly give, or offer, or agree to give any bribe to any person with intent to influence any public officer in respect of any act or omission by him in his official capacity.’ The Oxford dictionary describes a bribe as ‘an offer … Money, etc offered to procure … action or decision in favour of the giver.’ Farran ends "What a tangled web of law and politics in Vanuatu."