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Vanuatu MP Slams Political Advisor’s Comments
MP claims advisor misleading public over PM’s land debt

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Nov. 27, 2012) – In Vanuatu, MP Willie Jimmy has refuted "in the strongest terms" the response by the First Political Adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office to our front page article which promised to challenge Kilman’s outstanding debt in court.

MP Jimmy who is also the President of the Vanuatu Liberal Democratic Party describes the Letter to the Editor as "purposely designed to confuse and mislead the public by linking the Prime Minister’s debt, to the issue of land ownership in Lakatoro" which he insists "is a totally irrelevant issue here."

He asks, "Can you prove to me in Law that provides criteria and requirements for candidates wishing to contest the general elections can offset their debt, with the value of assets they have against the Government to quality them to be allowed by the Commission to contest an election?"

MP Jimmy says the Representation of the People’s (Amendment Act) is clear and mandatory. "All it says is that if a person wishes to contest the elections, he or she must not have any debt with the Government. That is what the Law requires as precondition for all candidates to comply with in order to contest the elections", he says.

"Therefore, my reading and understanding of the Law is clear, and I stand behind my belief that the Commission was wrong to have allowed Mr. Kilman to contest the October 30 general elections without clearing his Vt13 million [US$140,769] debt with the Government.

"I find it hard to accept your reasons that Mr. Kilman’s claims against the Government over the value of land in Lakatoro to be relevant or related in any way to the criteria under the provision of the Representation of the People’s Act that applies to people wishing to contest elections in Vanuatu."

While MP Jimmy says the First PA is entitled to his opinion he adds that in his view, it is irrelevant in the name of equality and justice for all.

"This case in my view has nothing to do with the title of Prime Ministership, but Mr. Kilman’s status before his election," he said.

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