Vanuatu Opposition accuses PM Kalsakau of misleading statements on no confidence motion


Vanuatu Opposition has accused Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau of not being entirely truthful in his address during a press conference last week after they boycotted the sitting to debate the motion of No confidence.

Former deputy Prime Minister and People’s Progressive Party (PPP) President Sato Kilman, criticised PM Kalsakau for labelling the motion of no confidence against him as “irresponsible.”

Kilman reminded Kalsakau that during his own tenure as Leader of the Opposition, he had initiated at least nine similar motions against the incumbent PM at the time.

MP Kilman said to them, this is indicating that only he (Kalsakau) can lodge a motion of no confidence in a PM, but denying them the same right.

He added, “PM Kalsakau also forgot that the ability to propose such motions is a constitutional right afforded to MPs”.

He challenged the PM’s assertion that National United Party (NUP) President, MP Bruno Leingkone had expressed support for the government.

“On that same day, Leingkone had confirmed his alignment with the Opposition,” Kilman revealed.

Kilman also pointed out that Kalsakau did not tell the truth when he stated in the press conference that the Minister of Lands had resigned and that they had to appoint another one, which was MP for the Shepherds group, John Timakata.

“I was the Minister of Lands at that time. I did not resign, he terminated me,” Kilman said.

The former DPM also addressed the PM’s claim that the cost of organising a change in government in the past several years amounted to VT700 million (US$5.8 million).

Kilman said this is a lie, as the actual cost would be around VT10 million(US$82,876) mainly associated with convening parliament to facilitate the exercise of MPs’ constitutional rights.

He clarified that other financial implications, such as ministerial transitions and staffing costs, were subject to pro-rated payments, which he explained that the total cost at the end of the four-year term remains.

The government was trying to imply that the Opposition does not agree with the minimum wage increase.

“This is not true,” the PPP leader said, adding everyone wants to see a rise in the minimum wage.

Kilman, who used to be with the government said even MPs on the government disagreed with it, in the sense that they wanted to see how this issue is addressed better so that everyone can benefit from this, rather than leaving some sectors handicapped.

MP Kilman made these allegations against PM Kalsakau Monday during a press conference held by the Opposition bloc.

Meanwhile, MP Sato Kilman, has provided clarity regarding his decision to join the Opposition.

Last Thursday, the MP from the Malekula Constituency explained that his departure from the current government was prompted by Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau’s termination of his positions as the DPM and Lands Minister.

“This was carried out within his constitutional authority; however, the point of contention lies in the rationale behind the termination,” MP Kilman stated.

“The assertion that I had endorsed a motion of no confidence against the PM earlier this year is untrue and lacks substantiating evidence.

“He has the constitutional prerogative to take such action, and I acknowledge that. By removing me from my role, it signifies a lack of confidence in me as an MP within his administration. Therefore, the honourable course for me is to align with the Opposition.”

When pressed regarding the ongoing motion that has recently garnered signatures, Kilman said that they currently possess a majority. With the commitment of the opposition leaders, they anticipate retaining this majority until 16 August, when parliament convenes to deliberate the motion of no confidence against PM Kalsakau.