Kastom in contempt of court, or is court in contempt of kastom?

red mat blong Pentecost

Daily Post knew it was on to a controversial issue. Today they say Justice Chetwynd’s decision has become the talk of the week as many comments by members of the public supported the defendants’ right to dress in their kastom attire in court. Yesterday we reported Daily Post saying Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua was removed from court in Port Vila under the orders of Justice Chetwynd for appearing in court in kastom dress to lodge a plea. This is in relation to his arrest and that of others on Pentecost ten months ago. The group were to reappear, and they did so yesterday in their red Pentecost mats. And this time Justice Chetwynd insisted they have to find someone to represent them. Their plea hearings are now scheduled for Tuesday. Social media and national and commercial radio stations have all picked up the issue which many people will see as something entirely customary, like the disagreement over the allegedly wrongful harvest of sea cucumber, at base of the case, which resulted in conflict and then turned into arson and death threats. Others will see the matter as political, though hardly party political, in view of the number and identity of voices involved.

The second public consultation on income tax is reported by Daily Post as having a better attendance, more diverse views and spirited debate. Enough said for the Vanuatu Daily Digest to report in summary. To report in full, the weekend would not be long enough.

Civil society organizations in the country are stated by Pastor Alan Nafuki of the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association to be united with the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organizations (PIANGO) stand on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination alleged to be seen in West Papua as directed by the UN Committee concerned with such treatment of people. (Daily Post)


2 Comments on “Kastom in contempt of court, or is court in contempt of kastom?”

  1. Paul Vuhu says:

    I totally disagreed with Justice Schetwynds discision over Jif Viraleo over his traditional dressing code. According to the preamble of the Constitution of Vanuatu. This Country stand on two things, Melanesian Cultural Heritage values and Christian principal. As a teacher, I am teaching my students to go back to their roots and research more with their elderly people how to maintain their traditional practices and practice them as a mark of ownership. The Issue is _Custom law Vs State law. If you go to PNG with over 800 languages and custom Culture and tradition. Vanuatu is just a small country but very rich in our melanesian way of life as this is our IDENTITY, We must maintain it.Jif Vira Leo wears the correct honorable dress to appear before judge Schetwynd. Because,this Vanuatu, This not Australia or Us. How could vanuatu promote his Identity to the World? Please do not add foreign concepts to our Mama law