Election results out on Monday; Chief Justice says 2015 a pivotal year for Vanuatu legal systemPosted: January 30, 2016
The Chief Justice, Vincent Lunabek, in the presence of the Head of State, President Baldwin Lonsdale, caretaker PM Kilman and members of the judicial and legal professions, yesterday saw 2015 as an important historical year. The Chief Justice saw 2015 as “important for the law and the Courts in this Republic.” He invited his hearers to reflect on the impact of the law on the community, and on the roles of the Judiciary and the legal profession within it. He said “Vanuatu society puts important value on the concept of the rule of law as a cornerstone or pillar in our community. It is important to understand Vanuatu’s legal system and how justice is administered. I say that because, conceptually, this is after all the purpose of the law. Vanuatu’s legal system is mainly based on the common law, some aspects of French law and judicially-declared custom law. Fairness, transparency and access to justice are also fundamental characteristics of Vanuatu’s legal system. The law is there to facilitate the well-being of the people of Vanuatu and society. It is not to be seen as somehow obstructing them.”
A lengthy and important policy statement followed Chief Justice Lunabek’s opening remarks and the Daily Digest hopes to give readers an internet link to the statement in the near future. The opening took place in a day of extreme heat and sunshine and, apart from opening devotional proceedings in a Presbyterian Church service, was largely held in the appalling confines of the temporary (9 years now since the Joint Court was burned down) Dumbea courthouse and its surroundings. The heat and temporary nature of the surroundings added emphasis to the Chief Justice’s ongoing demands for proper court facilities. Well over a hundred participants in the event, many in gowns, or jackets and ties, witnessed the President inspect a guard of honour, with a backdrop of the mis-begotten convention centre.
Further to this Digest’s recently expressed opinion concerning the need for an audit of government finances comes news in Daily Post today that “100 health staff around the country have not received their salaries since December 2015.” This occurs in a year in which the caretaker PM saw Vanuatu ending the financial year with “the biggest fiscal surplus ever recorded in Vanuatu history.” And now we see airlines pulling out from servicing Vanuatu because there is not enough finance to repair the international runway.* Or, it seems, pay health workers.
The official election results for Vanuatu are to be announced by the Electoral Commission over Radio Vanuatu on Monday morning. The Commission has also denied a published complaint that a ballot box from Waluriki was opened en route to Saratamata, saying the report had no substance to it. Another complaint has appeared today concerning Pentecost unofficial figures. The Commission reminds all voters and candidates there is a period of 21 days after the official announcement of results in which complaints may be lodged.