By Doddy Morris in Port Vila
Vanuatu’s newly elected Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, has spoken out on the importance of preserving freedom of speech while cautioning against its “misuse”.
Kilman shared his concerns after his election as the country’s new leader on Monday evening.
He cited instances where criticism had crossed a “red line”, raising alarm over the tone of recent political discourse.
In his address, the Prime Minister addressed the need to uphold respect for Vanuatu’s traditions and Christian faith, including the importance of immediately stopping behavior that tarnished individuals’ reputations.
Prime Minister Kilman acknowledged the commitment to safeguarding democracy in Vanuatu and the importance of adhering to constitutional and legal processes when considering changes to the nation’s governance structure.
He noted the recent parliamentary session, which included a motion of no confidence as mandated by the Constitution.
The Prime Minister voiced his disappointment at lawmakers themselves for violating the laws they had enacted.
He conveyed his commitment to addressing these breaches and investigating allegations of threatening gestures and bribery.
Kilman said that the motion of no confidence was fundamentally about safeguarding democracy in Vanuatu.
He assured the public that the new government would prioritise delivering essential services to the people.
The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to all the political parties that supported the government’s change and acknowledged the customary practice during a government transition.
He thanked Vanua’aku Pati president Bob Loughman and Iauko Group leader Marc Ati for their support in electing him as the Prime Minister.
Kilman also commended members from other sides of the political spectrum who proposed candidates for the prime ministership and participated in the democratic process, even though the outcome did not favour them, saying that such participation upheld democratic values.
Doddy Morris is a Vanuatu Daily Post reporter. Republished with permission.