MSG chair defends new DG appointment

THE office of the Chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands has clarified that the appointment of the new Director General (DG) of the MSG Secretariat, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli is made within the requirements of the MSG Agreement and authority of the MSG Chair after consulting MSG leaders.

The Daily Post of Vanuatu has published an article which the Office of the Chair of the MSG described as grossly misleading and has the potential to cause disharmony amongst the MSG members and therefore sees it as its duty to respond to correct misinformation. The article carried under the headline ‘Melanesian Disarray’ implies the appointment was in breach of the MSG Constitution.

“The process that was highlighted in the article and the explanation given to Article 15 of the MSG Agreement is misleading, confusing and simply out of place. The process mentioned in the article can only apply to normal recruitment process of the DG when his contract comes to an end naturally. In addition, only part of the recruitment process was published and therefore did not give a clear picture of the process.

The complete process of the recruitment of the DG commences six (6) months prior to the expiration of incumbent DG contract which cannot be applied when the incumbent DG suddenly resigned in short notice. Appropriate legal advice was sought from the Secretariat on the authority of the MSG Chair to appoint the DG.

“The option available to the MSG Chair is to exercise his authority to fill the position immediately as required under the MSG Agreement. This is due to the urgency of the matter and the need for the Secretariat to function effectively. Article 8 (8) allows the MSG Chair to make decisions on behalf of MSG on issues of urgency after consultations with his colleague Leaders.

“It is the view of the Chair that the immediate appointment of the DG is a matter of urgency given the sudden resignation of the former DG. The MSG Agreement does not say how consultation can be done but as along as the Chair consults with Leaders, he can exercise his authority. The MSG Chair did undertake thorough consultations.

“Following the sudden resignation of the former DG the issue of appointing the new DG became a matter of urgency. Nominations and expressions of interest for the DG position officially closed on 31 December 2015.

“The MSG Chair then undertook capital visit in February 2016 to discuss the nominations and immediate appointment of the DG with Leaders. There was strong consensus assured to the MSG Chair to appoint Ambassador Yauvoli as nominated by the government of Fiji.

”After the consultation process, the MSG Chair formally wrote to his colleague leaders on his intention to appoint Ambassador Yauvoli as the new DG of the MSG Secretariat. The MSG Chair in fact undertook thorough consultations with his colleague leaders before making the appointment.

“To set the records right, the appointment of Ambassador Yauvoli was done within the requirements of the MSG Agreement and authority of the MSG Chair after consulting with Leaders. Any media articles that claim otherwise will be seen as propaganda and an effort to destabilize the unity of the group,” the office of the MSG Chair said.

The office of the MSG Chair said it is taking this matter seriously and if sufficient evidence can be obtained to suggest that certain individuals within the MSG Secretariat were involved in misleading the leaders and public of Vanuatu on this matter, they will be dealt with accordingly.