Prime Minister loses his job over paperwork

Prime Minister Edward Natapei of Vanuatu has just lost his job over his failure to submit paperwork to excuse his absence from parliament recently.

The country is in turmoil after the Prime Minister’s office forgot to hand in a signed note excusing Natapei’s absence from parliament this past week. He was out of the country attending the meeting of Commonwealth leaders in preparation for the upcoming Copenhagen climate change talks. Natapei had to make an emergency trip back to Vanuatu to prepare for elections, which are expected to be held next week. A new Prime Minister will be elected by parliament. Until that election, a “caretaker” government is in place.

Vanuatu has already been suffering the consequences of global warming. There has been no speculation as to what this situational blunder might mean for Vanuatu with the upcoming climate change talks in Copenhagen. However, Vanuatu has been attempting to adress the issue for many years, so it is anticipated that even if another Prime Minister be elected next week, Vanuatu will not lose momentum on the climate change front.

Critics say that addressing climate change would mean little to the people of Vanuatu, the majority of who live in poverty. Vanuatu citizens lack the luxuries that much of the world now accepts are basic necessities of life, such as running water and sewage treatment. However, Vanuatu’s poverty runs deeper than that,  and many of its citizens struggle to feed and educate their families. Vanuatu’s economy relies mainly upon tourism and agriculture.

Advocates and scientists counter those critics by arguing that climate change, which means rising sea levels and increased storms, means that people living in places like Vanuatu will lose their homes altogether, becoming “climate refugees.” The United Nations has already acknowledged the risk to inhabitants of the island nation because of climate change.

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