Supreme Court strikes out police mutiny case

The Supreme Court has struck out the mutiny case against the former chairman of the Police Service Commission and three senior police officers. It sat on 6 October to hear the bail conditions of police officer Ron Tamtam, and following this application, struck out the mutiny case. The case was between the Public Prosecutor and defendants, the former Chairman of the Commission (Tony Arthur), the Acting Police Commissioner (Arthur Caulton), Commander Southern Region (Pierre Carlot), Police Commander Maritime (John Taleo) and two other officers.

The court reconsidered certain counts under the penal code, and based on information the court had already considered on 28 September, the Public Prosecutor agreed with defence counsel that all charges should be dropped.

It was further reported that the former Deputy Commissioner of Police Arthur Caulton was appointed Acting Police Commissioner on Friday. The two-month appointment was gazetted the same day. Recruitment for the Commissioner position is underway.

Former President Kalkot Mataskelekele reminded the Government on a previous Constitution Day ceremony of the need to revise the Constitution, and President Iolu Abbil gave a second such reminder at the Constitution Day ceremony last Friday. The Constitution is fundamental to the wellbeing of the country, he observed, for each individual — and for peace. “We must respect it and take good care of our nation”. The reminder is a strong warning at a time when the present Government is hellbent on selling the most important aspects of ni-Vanuatu identity — land and citizenship — to the highest bidder.

Thi Tham Goiset is required to pay Chief Joseph Tangis Vt 9.25 million immediately. Goiset promised she would pay back Tangis Vt 50,000 interest per month for the Vt 6 million she borrowed from him five years ago after she learned he had sizeable savings, Daily Post reports. In five years, the only repayments Tangis received back from Goiset was a puny Vt 240,000 in November last year. Swindler Goiset must now pay back the loan principal, all interest, an additional court-adjudicated 5% plus Tangis’s court costs.

The Arrier people of Fatenlengi, the area between Creek Ai and the Wahoo Bar at North Efate, made it clear in this weekend’s Daily Post that they are certainly not allowing any resort project on their land at Havannah Harbour, with any developer. It has recently been stated in other media that they have agreed to such an undertaking. “Not true”, says chief Arrier Felix Labsaru. They have their own plans in place which do not include sharing their land with anyone.

Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot in this weekend’s Daily Post is urging Vanuatu foreign missions to raise funds due to the budget shortage. Don’t you mean fill the gap brought about by bad governance, Alfred? What a stupid idea. Look at our roving ambassador to Russia and Abkhazia — she can’t even manage her own personal loans in-country, despite having skimmed off a percentage from Russia’s chequebook diplomacy deal with Vanuatu.

The Transparency Vanuatu page in this weekend’s Daily Post has an excellent resumé of known illegal passport sales. Prime Minister Sato Kilman has allegedly given out 35 passports, Internal Affairs Minister George Wells 21, and Bakoa Kaltongga, 18.

This blog’s Santo maritime affairs reporter is able to state that the vessel which sank off Hog Harbour last weekend with 17 passengers on board was owned by Christophe Emelée. Happily, everyone, including a disabled person, was able to get ashore in the ship’s dinghy.

In other maritime news from the north, an appalling smell of diesel fuel near Santo Hardware is alleged to come from the Ratua barge. Ports and Marine at Luganville are apparently aware of this issue, our source informs us.

It seems like closer connections to Indonesia are going to provide cheaper tobacco, and a company from that country, Saber Leaf, is believed to be establishing operations here. And what’s more, it will produce, its website says, white cigarettes, clove oil cigarettes. Their website says little more about them. Of course, the tax haven here will be useful. Large parts of Indonesia have been given over to this cash crop, at the expense of food crops. One wonders what assistance such a company could render towards our Millennium Development Goal for Health?