“Today Yumi Forty One, Vanuatu’s 41st Annivesary, the people must be empowered to fully participate in our nation’s development aspirations”, these were his words referring to the work he is doing back in his constituency on Tanauta.
Andrew Napuat is from Lamakaun on North Tanna and was elected to the 11th parliament legislature in the 2016 Snap General Election. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai appointed the Tanna Member of Parliament (MP) Andrew Solomon Napuat as Minister of internal Affairs on the 19th of December 2017 and he served for 3 years.
He was re-elected as Member of Parliament for Tanna Constituency in 2020.
However he is not new in politics. In 2009 he was working with Ministry of Justice and Community Service, then got appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to the President of the Republic of Vanuatu in 2011 and became the First Political Advisor to the Ministry of lands in 2015.
YTS News team caught up with Honorable MP Napuat this week in Port Vila.
“Forty years after independence, we should have one aim, reach the remote areas, develop the remote or rural areas, spread development in such a way that everyone must benefit. The decentralisation policy has already been written, approved and the act was amended in parliament in the last legislature during my time as Minister of Internal Affairs thereby increasing councillors salaries and providing constituency allowances for councillors, increased grants to local area councils and recruiting area administrators who are public servants to be based at local area council level with the communities. We must continue to provide resources, decentralise government services to provinces down to area councils and continue to provide funding support to the area councils”, he said.
Napuat is a leader with courage to fulfill his vision and actions are made from from his passion and not from his position. He does not wait to become a minister to implement work in his constituency.
“The government, the private sector, the NGOs and Members of Parliament must all support this policy direction. If you cannot do it, just empower the people through resources and budgets and they will do it, the people in the rural areas know better than many of us, they only need our support and they can develop their local areas”.
“The practice by MPs to make donations as if they want to compete with the small handouts just to win votes has to change and we must all think about making meaningful contributions that affect the lives of everyone. The people must unite in their areas, form associations, groups and be ready to work together with their leaders and government.”
He has been supporting the people of Tanauta in the remote and rural areas to ensure that their JCB wheel loader machine that he handed over in 2020 is creating access through clearance and construction of feeder roads from villages to dispensaries, to schools, to markets, and areas that have weak links to services provided by the government.”
“I was confronted by a Chief at South West Tanna during a political campaign who said these words to me – ‘Young man, these roads despite their very poor conditions are being used by politicians every four years and they become the busiest roads during elections, but after elections, they become bush roads that even our own people cannot travel around easily, What would you do if you get elected?’ My only response was, I will raise your voice to the government and Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities to consider including your road in the plan. This was not a good answer at all but I had to say something to defend my standing up for election.”
It is now a year and half since his re-election, and he has assisted the people to get a JCB wheel loader machine for their rural feeder road needs, and has been supporting them with fuel to ensure their machine is maintaining their roads.
“Sometimes we just have to lead the way so that the government can come in to asssist. If the government wants to help those who have taken the step to help themselves, then my people deserve this as they have already shown the example that they have now constructed roads through villages, areas that have never seen service delivery, and the government must now come in to support them.
At the southwestern part of Tanna, not in the plans of the government and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), feeder roads were constructed and upgraded, some parts of Central Tanna and Northeastern part of Tanna too the people’s JCB machine is pushing the way through.
The people have gladly stated that these developments are happening in their remote areas for the first time, new roads, access to schools, access to dispensaries, and many other government services is now accessible to the people and made possible through the sacrifice and generosity of their Member of Parliament who is only an ordinary MP in the opposition yet living up to his words that development must reach remote and rural areas.
It is just after his election in 2020, MP Napuat has already travelled around his constituency, created and implemented projects for his voters and ensured that his people own the loader machine.
He has also secured a machine that is going to cut iron roofing on Tanna and has successfully put in place three councillors who are now ready to assist their member of parliament with the projects that will change the lives of the people in his constituency.
When questioned what he thinks his other colleague MPs are doing with their allocations, the MP answered, “check their reports in one year, go to parliament and request to see because some normally put their posters for public scrutiny like all GJP Party MPs so nothing gets hidden. I put up my posters at public places to allow voters to criticise or give comments and their input has been helping me to adjust and improve how I address their development needs in my constituency.”
“As per GJP Party Policy, I deduct 2 million Vatu every year from my salary to help my people with their community projects. There is a 3 million vatu allocation that is being given to all 52 MPs by the parliament but this is not enough, so GJP MPs decided to deduct a further 2 million Vatu from their salaries to make a total of 5 million Vatu per year and spend this money in their constituencies. My people already know that they have 5 million Vatu this year, 5 million Vatu next year 2022, 5 million Vatu in 2023 and 5 Million Vatu in 2024 for their community projects, and this is coming from my allocation which is 3 million plus 2 million Vatu from my salary”, he concluded.
The Tanauta MP is looking forward to deliver more projects for his people in this 12th legislature.