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Vanuatu PM accused of living the high life while his people suffer

Vanuatu PM Bob Loughman. Photo Govt of Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s prime minister Bob Loughman has been slammed by Transparency Vanuatu (TV) for the alleged abuse of taxpayer funds.

TV chief executive Dr Willie Tokon told The Pacific Advocate that the Government continued to spend excessively while ignoring the issues the people face.

“The Prime Minister took all of his political officials to his island of Tanna, to Malekula and Santo in an expensive trip in spite of the unemployment and suffering the people are going through,” he said.

The PM survived a motion of no confidence against him in parliament this week, which was moved by opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu, who cited six main reasons for seeking to remove him, most relating to alleged excessive and unwarranted spending by government.

Mr Loughman won the confidence vote with the support of 27 MPs in the 52-seat parliament.

However his hold on government remains uncertain after the Supreme Court this month upheld a decision by Parliament’s former Speaker to declare the seats of 19 government MPs vacant.

Dr Tokon, in the Daily Post, called on leaders to stop paying lip service to the people they were responsible for and instead serve them in humility.

“If a leader cannot uphold these standards and expectations from the people then that leader must step down from that leadership role.”

“When leaders get paid and receive allowances, but refuse to perform their primary duties, we ask the questions: Why are they getting salaries; why are they receiving allowances but not attending work; why are they allowed to keep that leadership position if they are not performing their primary function?”

Dr Tokon also highlighted the excessive allowances paid out to members of Parliament while the House was in adjournment, which he said amounted to 21 million vatu plus another three million (approx. US$200,000) for MPs allowances for extended adjournments of Parliament sittings these past few weeks.

Dr Willie Tokon. Photo: Transparency International
  1. job Joseph 2 years ago

    Crucial point that state very clear the truth about webur’s government.. is there any law that can deal with these issue?

  2. William 2 years ago

    This statement is very True. One of the most Get-rich-off-the-system Government this country has ever seen with salaries quadrupling overnight, lavish gifts, new vehichles, unnecessary trips and project with obscene amounts in budget while stopping aid, stimulus packages, job opportunities (Agents) for indigenous citizens. We have also seen an increase in taxes such as Warf tolls, Pet licences, Kava Licences, Farm and Market products and the continuation of normal taxes that the previous Government stopped in relation to the COVID_19 crisis such as Road Tax, Land Rents etc while people are losing their jobs and livelyhood over this pandemic crisis.

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