PM Kilman publically refuses to discipline corrupt ministers; claims he “cannot sack or discipline them”

The possibility of double punishment, Prime Minister Kilman stated in his Face to Face contribution on national radio yesterday, does not allow the PM to discipline ministers. Daily Post reports today him saying “When some ministers were found on the yacht Phocea, the Prime Minister cannot sack or discipline them. They are ‘prime ministers’ within their ministries. Today when a Minister sells land, is involved in a rape case or the sale of diplomatic passports to foreigners, the Prime Minister cannot sack him. Instability makes it impossible for the Prime Minister to move and take action.” He was also heard saying that if a Minister goes to court and is found guilty of an offence, then there is a fine or sentence. A Prime Minister cannot discipline such a minister as it would constitute double jeopardy – an additional penalty for the same offence.

What a load of rubbish, PM. Cabinet government seems to have broken down completely in Vanuatu.

This writer was particularly disappointed with the Face to Face broadcast on Radio Vanuatu. The reception on MW and FM (the most used bands) was terrible. The PM was mostly inaudible. Then he was suddenly interrupted mid-answer to a question by the Radio News bulletin which continued at great length. When the PM’s responses were resumed, he was answering another entirely different question and quickly his time was up. Then there was half an hour of brainless music providing no linkage to the rest of the programme. Opposition Leader Serge Vohor began answering questions, but only on FM, now with better audibility. MW had been completely dropped. There were no apologies to the two leaders or the Pacific Institute of Public Policy who organised the event. There was no apology to listeners. VBTC has done much better in the past, but yesterday’s broadcast was a complete waste of time.

In VBTC Radio News this morning, PM Kilman having admitted that Vanuatu has low education standards, this was the lead item. Many schools have untrained teachers which contribute to the low standard, he said. Most likely. The item also came from yesterday’s Face to Face, already mentioned.

Radio Vanuatu News also concentrated on the VNPF. Governor Odo Tevi appealed to members not to support the funds withdrawal move which would lead to hardship, and a financial crisis for the economy. The Auditor General admitted that the main reason for seeking overseas assistance for the VNPF audit is a lack of talented auditors in this country. “We need the right people to put back confidence in the fund,” he said.

A long letter in today’s Daily Post blames that paper for dismantling the reputation of the suspended VNPF manager. The writer insists she is presenting facts and goes on to say “The VNPF’s current GM has nothing but the best interests of the Fund’s Members and their contributions at heart.” Not exactly facts. We are told to get the facts. But you just try. Somewhere in E-Govt? The Fund should be sending printed paper newsletters at least quarterly to all Members to avoid charges of lack of information, and so everyone can be informed all the time. With facts. Daily Post editor reaches a similar conclusion.

Lands DG Joe Ligo explains the reasons for Lands Director Jean-Marc Pierre’s suspension in today’s Daily Post. He also cautions the media against speculation on the matter. The issue seems mainly to concern the amount of outstanding land rents to be paid to the government, likely indicating therefore town land rents unpaid. This question would also seem to be one for the ministry. The figure has varied enormously in different accountings. Ligo also speaks of a backlog of 4,000 un-registered land dealing applications. The paper will carry more on this matter soon.

Prison escapee Andre Ringiau is still on the run and believed to be on Malakula, says Daily Post.