Tanna chief calls for greater power for chiefs and church

The Nikoletan Council of Chiefs on Tanna Island has called on the new Vanuatu Coalition Government to ensure there is unity and stability across the nation.

The President of the Nikoletan Council of Chiefs, Chief Willie Lop, made the call when addressing Prime Minister Bob Loughman and his delegation during their visit this week to Tanna.

The chief told the Prime Minister, who was elected in April, “When there is stability in the Government, people can see developments.

Chief Lop also told the Prime Minister he wanted the “the Government to give more power to the chiefs and Vanuatu’s customary law”.

“I want to see the Vanuatu constitution give more power to customary and the church,” he said.

The Prime Minister responded that the Government recognises the importance of the two bodies and will work to ensure they are strengthened.

Mr Loughman also outlined the priorities and policy direction of his Government.

The Prime Minister, who is from Tanna, and his delegation were welcomed by custom leaders from the Nikoletan Council of Chiefs in their nakamal at Laminu in Tanna.

The custom dancers lead a parade from the Tafea Cooperative to Laminu nakamal.

Chief Lop said, “ In March, the Tanna Council of Chiefs made a visit to the Prime Minister in Port Vila to congratulate him for the high position he took on as the Prime Minister.

He says at that time they invited the Prime Minister to come back to the Laminu nakamal and they thanked him with custom.

The President of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, Willie Grey Plasua, is also in Tanna to witness the custom ceremony.

Prime Minister Bob Loughman and his delegation will be in Tanna for five days.

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