New Police Service Chairman appointed, but not Police Commissioner

Vanuatu Police Force constables patrol Port Vila. File photo: Rob Maccoll/DFAT

Vanuatu Police Force constables patrol Port Vila. File photo: Rob Maccoll/DFAT

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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 Read the rest of this entry »


Performance review for former Police Commisioner set for 8 October

A review of the performance of Joshua Bong as Police Commissioner will take place on October 8. The role of the Police Service Commission, the PSC Deputy Chairman told us today, is to ensure independence and transparency in appointments to senior police posts. However, at the weekend Minister for Internal Affairs George Wells stepped in and reappointed Tony Arthur as Chairman of the PSC. Arthur is facing mutiny charges and is also an intending candidate in this month’s election. Further meetings of the PSC were banned by the Minister on Monday. It would seem that Minister Wells prefers political interference over independence and transparency.

The Director General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat, Peter Forau, told Daily Post that the the largest MSG partner, Papua New Guinea, has officially gazetted the MSG Trade Agreement. One can only add that it would, wouldn’t it? Whether WTO or MSGTA, it is the largest countries which benefit the most such agreements. It will only be a matter of time before Fiji joins in, too.

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Govt mismanages suspension of Police Commissioner

The Police Commissioner saga reaches new heights of mismanagement. Having done nothing about the suspension of Joshua Bong as Police Commissioner, and acting without a Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), the Council of Ministers (who should have nothing to do with it) decided on Sunday, as Bong’s contract was ending, that Bong ought to be returned to the position of Police Commissioner. They reappointed him for five years, “after a three year review.” Does that mean a total of eight years?

No mention has been made of the reason for which Bong was suspended. This is said to be due to a conflict of interest to Bong between Bong’s position and his running a private security business. He has “successfully sought legal redress”, reports Daily Post today. Do we assume from this he proved mutiny against those bringing his private security force to the attention of the PSC? Or just mismanagement on the part of everyone? The judgements of the two weekend court sittings have not yet been published. The PSC has declared itself happy with the re-appointment of Bong. Vanuatu seems to be without an effective administration at present.

Prime Minister of Vanuatu Sato Kilman addresses the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 28, 2012.

Prime Minister Sato Kilman addresses the general debate of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 28, 2012. Photo credit: UN Photo/J Carrier.

Prime Minister Sato Kilman has been mentioning the Matthew and Hunter issue at the United Nations. Kilman has been telling the General Assembly: Read the rest of this entry »


Suspended head of Transnational Crime Unit says he intends to sue Govt for defamation

The most interesting thing in this morning’s Daily Post was the forced leave of the head of the Transnational Crime Unit, Andrew Kalman, already reported. Kalman is suing for defamation, according to Radio Vanuatu News. Thompson Pakoa, however, reminds us in timely fashion, in Daily Post Letters, that the Minister has no powers in disciplinary matters. Of course. All such powers rest with the Commissioner and the Police Service Commission. Ministers in Vanuatu do not, however, always act according to the law as we have seen with other aspects of the Phocea fantasy. This is deplorable. Nor do they always act the way the public would expect.

Prime Minister Sato Kilman has taken off for the Olympic Games in London.

Parliament will sit on 22 August until the end of its term on 2 September. And we are stuck with the present Government as caretaker through September and October. Are there not motions already doing the rounds?

VIPA records the fourth consecutive drop in new investment projects is the Daily Post‘s leading headline. Smith Tebu, CEO of VIPA, admits the matter is a serious one. They are introducing changes. “Previously,” he says, “any Tom, Dick or Harry can drop an application. But in 2009 we introduced new internal control mechanisms and a new checklist on screening applications.” He admits “this can contribute to the drop.” He should also mention the Global Financial Crisis. And offers no opinion that advertising for any Wei, Wen or Li on TV in Hong Kong to come to Vanuatu to retire is a suitable remedy for the widening investment shortfall.

At last we know what’s happening at Vila Central Hospital. Japanese aid is providing us with a completely new one, says Daily Post. But it’s a shame that JICA‘s well known concern for the environment has not required the retention of the big nambanga which provided much shade for waiting mothers and babies.