MOST Caucus members who voted in support of the China switch did so because they were threatened by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
That’s according to Rick Hou, who Sogavare sacked yesterday to refusing to support the diplomatic switch.
“The switch vote was made under threats from Sogavare and his advocators inside the Caucus,” Hou claimed.
Asked what sort of threats, Hou boldly stated: “you vote for this resolution to switch to China, you are with the government; you vote against it means you are against the government policy and you know what the consequences are.”
And when asked who made those orders, he said Prime Minister Sogavare.
“You really need to have the nerves to vote against the resolution to switch to China during the process of the voting in the Caucus,” he added.
Hou also told reporters that “Sogavare did not feel comfortable with some of us who go against his decision knowing very well that this is not how it should be done”.
“I have not serve under a dictator before or serve under him (Sogavare) before but I heard some of our colleagues served under him in the past said this is his normal kind of treatment during Caucus and Cabinet meetings,” he said.
Prior to the decision to switch to China on September 16, Hou and other 15 government members of the Coalition have stated that they will not support any switch.
But during the vote, only six decided not to vote, while the rest supported the resolution. And because of the threats, most of them have to vote against their conscience.
“Actually it was a tense moment at that time of vote therefore five other members including myself decide to abstain,” Hou said.
Hou was replaced by Fataleka MP Rex Ramofafia, who crossed the floor from the Opposition in recent weeks.
Another senior minister Sogavare sacked, Dr Tautai Angikimua Tautai, who was minister for Justice and Legal Affairs, was replaced by another Opposition member and Baegu-Asifola MP Makario Tagini.
The two new ministers were promised portfolios if they resigned from the Opposition and joined the government before the government voted for China.
By ANDREW FANASIA