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A deportation, a stateless person and unease

Within days of Joe Natuman (pictured) becoming Prime Minister in May following a well-planned and executed takeover of power from Moana Carcasses that many did not see coming, rumblings of a Carcasses-led bounce back motion surfaced. And they have never gone away. So for many it was to almost a relief when the Carcasses motion was lodged with the Speaker Philip Boedoro on August 29, but he decided that the motion was not in order, declaring six of the 27 MPs signatures on the motion to be invalid.

Opposition leader Carcasses and his team took the matter to the Supreme Court. On September 8, Justice Stephen Harrop dismissed the Opposition’s application and found in favour of Speaker Boedoro. In essence in an 83-point judgment, Justice Harrop said that there were simply not enough signatures to warrant the calling of an extraordinary session of parliament.

While the no confidence motion was before the court, it emerged that a former Chinese citizen, Ruihua Yau, had been declared stateless by the Vanuatu government. The Secretary General of the Citizenship Commission, John Enock Ware said that the agency revoked Yau’s certificate of Vanuatu citizenship in August. He said the Commission found Yau received Vanuatu citizenship in 2004 after just living in the country for seven years. Under Vanuatu’s Citizenship Act, a foreigner must live in Vanuatu for 10 years before being eligible to apply for citizenship.

The Carcasses Government had appointed Yau as Vanuatu’s Deputy Ambassador in Beijing but this was terminated when Natuman became Prime Minister. A successful businessman in Port Vila where he employs around 30 people, Yau has re-applied for Vanuatu citizenship. Natuman had made some general comments warning expatriates and investors not to become involved in Vanuatu’s politics.

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