6 Oct 2015

Vanuatu president calls out MPs who break laws

9:01 pm on 6 October 2015
Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale.

Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale. Photo: AFP

Vanuatu's Head of State Baldwin Lonsdale has issued a strong rebuke of members of parliament who break the law.

In a speech marking the country's Constitution Day, the President said the founders of Vanuatu's independence struggle who united to draft the constitution did not expect anyone to act above the law or go astray from it.

The President told invited guests including Deputy Prime Minister Moana Carcasses and former Head of State, Kalkot Mataskelekele, that no one is above the law.

Mr Carcasses is currently at the centre of a major court case in which he and 15 other MPs, mainly from the government, have been charged with bribery.

The Head of State's comments were echoed by another former Vanuatu president, George Sokomanu.

"What happened recently to our members of parliament who have been taken to court and the president was right in saying no-one was above the law," said Mr Sokomanu.

"Because if you do wrong - and I say this is required in the constitution - you should face the consequences."

Meanwhile, Baldwin Lonsdale said that 36 years on from Vanuatu gaining independence, it was important for every MP, chief, community leader and man and woman to go back to study the preamble of the constitution which upholds Christian principles and traditional Melanesian values.

The President said out of a total of 31 people who drafted the Constitution, 19 of them had already passed away and only 12 were still alive.

The President pleaded with the 12 to tell their story of the united vision they had in order to work on the document at record breaking speed to meet Independence Day on July 30 of 1980.

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