Calls for calm from traditional leader as VNPF tensions mountPosted: August 16, 2012
Chief Kalanga Sauwia of Freswota is calling on everyone in the Freswota area to remain calm despite the perceived failure of the Tuesday afternoon meeting to satisfy members of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund that their savings are safe. Chief Sauwia’s call was the lead item on Radio Vanuatu this morning. “VNPF members were not satisfied,” he said, and clearly they were not. The assurances of Finance Minister Moana Carcasses were insufficient for members to feel their funds are in good hands. Chief Kalanga said members were resolved to demonstrate at the VNPF again today.
Radio Vanuatu reported tight police security at VNPF House early this morning. Further news is awaited.
Members wanted the VNPF Board suspended as well as the various managers, when they assembled on Tuesday. Minister Carcasses’s answer to their non-suspension was that they are new, only being on the board since towards the end of last year. There was also an attempted appointment to the board by the Minister less than a month ago. The Minister is frequently accused of stacking the board with cronies.
While many of Minister Carcasses’s answers to the dozens of questions on Tuesday afternoon at the Chiefs’ Nakamal are reported in Daily Post today, it is quite clear they satisfy no-one. Nepotism issues and ‘fatcat’ salaries were not satisfactorily or even partly answered, and members will remain particularly angry over these matters.
Positive information came through Radio Vanuatu News with the Reserve Bank promising its own inquiry and in Daily Post reporting the VNPF Board’s concern over the issues which have been raised. Mr Santos Vatoko, the Board says, has been appointed interim general manager of the Fund. The Vanuatu Christian Council is also encouraging people to remain calm as requested and in the spirit of the meeting of chiefs and church leaders on Monday.