9 Mar 2004

Vanuatu's Cabinet changed for third time in recent months

9:13 pm on 9 March 2004

The Vanuatu Cabinet has undergone yet another reshuffle - its third since late last year.

The changes come as Prime Minister Edward Natapei tries to maintain control after a rift in his Vanuaaku Pati.

Finance Minister Sela Molisa, a party rival of Mr Natapei's, resigned on Monday, but our correspondent Kal Moli says he was about to be sacked by the Prime Minister.

He says there are questions about the capabilities of the new Finance Minister Jimmy Niklan.

"He has an accounting background however it is really basic accounting. He was associated with the defunct Development Bank which went bust after there was extensive over borrowing without proper regulatory measures over the past years, and it went bust around 1993."

Kal Moli.

In other changes Sam Dan becomes the Minister of Ni Vanuatu Business and Nicholas Brown is the new Education Minister after the resignation of Donald Kalpokas.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister's spokesman, Daniel Bangtor, says the leaders of the Vanuaaku Pati have committed to keeping the party together despite the rift.