This bold statement was echoed by the Minister of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) Willie Daniel Kalo on Friday to chiefs and communities throughout the country.
The minister was speaking at a reconciliation ceremony where a custom apology was made by a chief representatives of Erromango in Port Vila over an incident back in April where a namele leaf was placed on the ministry’s tractor on the island.
The MALFFB Facebook page reported that the incident has hindered MALFFB’s planned response for Tropical Cyclone Harold victims in the country.
the government is eager to develop the 83 islands in Vanuatu but Namele leaf will only stop the government effort
Willie Daniel’s message will eventually resonate with all the chiefs and but he stressed that the government is eager to develop the 83 islands in Vanuatu but Namele leaf will only stop the government effort.
An article by Dr Wendy Stenberg-Tendys states, Namele leaves, from the palm known as the Chief’s Palm, pose a very real deterrent in the culture of Vanuatu. If two leaves are crossed over and placed at the door of any place of business, the staff will bluntly refuse to enter that property. The business has no choice but to cease to run, until such time as the problem is solved.
“They are shown as a peace sign on the Vanuatu flag, along with pig tusks, a symbol of wealth. However Namele leaves are also used as a very strong emblem of taboo. If a senior person or family in a village feel they have an ownership to a particular fruiting tree, all they need to do is to hang a namele leaf on the trunk. Should anyone dare to take the fruit, they will be liable to a fine, imposed on them by the chief of the village”.