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The former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Donald Kalpokas passed away in Port Vila Wednesday afternoon.
The diplomat who served as Prime Minister of Vanuatu twice from 1991 and 1998 died after a long-term illness.
Kalpokas was well-loved and considered a man of the people.
He was described as a true leader of Vanuatu, a humble person, very genuine kind and loving person who cared about people, particularly ordinary people.
He is one the founders of the Vanua'aku Party and served as the President of the party untill 2001 when he gave up the party leadership.
Kalpokas served as the Speaker of the Parliament from May 2001 to May 2002.
In November 2007 he was appointed as Vanuatu's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
“We have lost one of the very first founding fathers of our political independence, a great leader, and one of the pillars of our nation,” were the first remarks from Vanua’aku Pati (VP) President and Deputy Prime Minister Bob Loughman.
The late Kalpokas, who hails from Lelepa Island in North Efate, was one of the first founders of the New Hebrides cultural association that later became a political party known as the New Hebrides National Party (NHNP) which later changed to VP.
“They turn the cultural association into a political force that eventually brought down British and French Superpowers and led the people of the then New Hebrides to become an Independent Republic of Vanuatu,” VP President Loughman told Daily Post.
“I visited him on Monday of this week at his home on Lelepa Island and spoke with his families. I assured his families and the people of Lelepa, North Efate and Efate that his contributions towards the struggle before the Independence of Vanuatu, before during and after independence cannot be measured. A man with a vision - he saw the vision for Vanuatu’s Independence. He saw the light at the end of a tunnel, and today we enjoy the light of the Independence. He stood tall with late father Walter Lini, Peter Taurakoto and others in the struggle for Vanuatu’s Independence and won in the end.”
The VP President described the late Kalpokas as ‘a humble leader’ who fought tirelessly with other leaders during the struggle for independence for the freedom of his people.
“His voice is still heard today and will remain in the heart of the people of Vanuatu,” said VP President Loughman.
“He was not just a VP leader but a man of the people of Vanuatu, a national leader who stood for the people and this nation, yes on the VP platform, but with a vision and for national interest.”
As one of the founders of Vanuatu’s political Independence, the late Kalpokas, served as the Prime Minister twice, once as a Speaker of the National Parliament, twice as Minister of Foreign Affairs, a Permanent Representative of Vanuatu (Ambassador) in the United Nations (UN) and was a long-time President of the Vanua’aku Pati (VP) until he retired from politics but remained honorary VP President till his passing away.
The late Kalpokas, as he was well known, throughout his political and diplomatic career, was one of the outstanding New Hebridean educationist who after his studies in New Zealand, was instrumental in the advancement of the modern education in the then New Hebrides and today Vanuatu.
He was one of the founders of the New Hebrides Cultural Association, together with the late Father Walter Lini, and surviving members of the then Association, Peter Taurakoto, spearheaded the New Hebrides political party that later renamed Vanua’aku Pati, that pushed for Independence of 1980.
He travelled extensively throughout the country, in the region and abroad during his work in education and as well as in politics towards the eventual Independence freedom.
The Government has organised a State funeral in honour of the country’s pioneer today and the national flag is flying at half-mast.
The official programme of the laying in state of the former Prime Minister starts this morning.
SOURCE:LOOP VANUATU/ VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
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