A GOVERNMENT analyst claimed that the recent commission of enquiry has been deliberately set up to sack the Chief Executive Officer of Air Vanuatu Joseph Laloyer but has nothing to do with the safety issues of the airline.
The publication of the commission's report had led up to the recent attempt to remove Mr Laloyer by the then chairman, Ioane Mariasua and replace him with Peter Fogarty.
The attempt to remove Mr Mariasua followed the allegation that relating to a controversial flight from Santo to Vila during bad weather early this year should never have occurred.
The internal problems at Air Vanuatu forced Prime Minister Sato Kilman who is also a shareholder of the airline to step in and take over the control of the airline.
The move of Mr Kilman followed the removal of Mr Mariasua and Mr Fogarty last week.
A press statement from the office of the Prime Minister this week said that it is the duty of the Prime Minister's Office not to serve personal interests by replacing the CEO or other top management personnel based on un-factual and unsustained declarations.
The office of Prime Minister reiterated that Safety is the primary objective and it was the responsibility of Mr Mariasua under the Ministry of Public Utilities to set the national safety management framework as required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
These safety directives and recommendations, which should be issued by the Civil Aviation under the control of the Ministry of Public Utilities, are necessary to clarify the Vanuatu’s safety management framework.
The Government of Mr Kilman is particularly concerned about the economic growth and the level of service that Air Vanuatu is providing.
They said the development of Air Vanuatu is closely linked to the whole tourism sector which is the major income of the country and restoring the profitability and assessing the good corporate governance of Air Vanuatu is considered as a national priority.
The statement said that for several months, the office of the Prime Minister has been actively working on the Air Vanuatu case to re-assess the company’s policy and set new economical and qualitative objectives, keeping in mind the final goal which is to sustain the Vanuatu’s tourism sector and to restore a positive economical balance.
An action plan was defined to achieve this national challenge including, but not limited to, the supervision by the PM's office that Air Vanuatu was moved to the PM Office's portfolio, the introduction of new strategies and a reinforced management team.
The statement said the instruction was clearly given to Mr Mariasua to implement these new strategies but 'unfortunately he had chosen to implement his own agenda, therefore the change of the Board of Directors became an obvious option.'
Meanwhile an external advisor and an aviation professional has carried out an analysis of the commission of inquiry by Mariasua's board of director.
The findings are that reports containing many deviations whose 'sincerity' has to be questioned as well as several obvious errors.
In its conclusion, the analyst said that if the background safety issue is obvious unless Air Vanuatu is able to expose and sustain a completely different story, the shareholders must be particularly careful when defining the necessary corrective actions, not to remedy this problem with a solution which is worse than the original problem itself.
"In other words, we strongly encourage the shareholders not to take a precipitate political decision that will only postpone the problem and amplify the medium term consequences, both economically and politically,'' said the analyst's report.
"We suggest to closely analyze the whole history of the airline and to assess who (what management team) proved his professionalism and competency by creating value and economic growth for the airline and the entire tourism industry in Vanuatu. In any cases, replacing the entire management team as a reaction to this safety issue would be sending a wrong message to entire community.
"From a legal perspective, the defense of this case can probably be implemented but it requires direct access to all internal documents and personals. It does not mean that all the accusations are false but most of them are supported by evidence that may be called into question. The major charge, which is the fact that both aircrafts should never taken off from Santo, is indefensible.
"What is once again made obvious by this report it the absolute necessity to restructure Air Vanuatu. It also demonstrates the lack of experience of many managers as well as the structural weakness of the entire Air Vanuatu’s organization.''
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