19 Jan 2016

Vanuatu's former president reveals attempts to stop independence

7:47 am on 19 January 2016

Vanuatu's former head of state, George Sokomanu, has celebrated his 80th birthday by saying he was offered money in the 1970s by expatriates to silence him on calls for independence.

Mr Sokomanu gave a speech saying how important it was to gain political freedom from colonial rule.

He said no amount of money, especially in the form of a bribe, compares with the hunger for freedom after 74 years of colonial rule over the then New Hebrides.

He also commented on the recent corruption crisis in Parliament and said it would have been better to agree on a parliament of national unity, as there is very little money to fund a snap election.