10 Jul 2002

Controversy over pending appointment of police commissioner in Vanuatu

4:41 pm on 10 July 2002

Controversy is developing in Vanuatu over the pending appointment of a new police commissioner.

The police service commission chairman, Michael Taun, says the long vacant post will be filled next week amid reports of growing dissatisfaction in senior police ranks that an expatriate is being considered to head the force.

Police sources say officers don't want the outspoken former ombudsman, Marie Noelle Patterson to become commissioner.

She is one of four to have made the shortlist for the position from 12 applicants.

Mrs Patterson, who contested the elections in May, said at the time that the police force was in disarray.

A panel comprising the auditor-general, a member of the public service commission, the head of the Vanuatu council of women and a representative of the banking sector, has apparently made its choice and sent the recommendation to the police service commission.

The decision will then be presented to the president, Father John Bani.

This is the first time that a transparent process is being 9_rnzi.news.hold

followed in the appointment of a police commissioner.

The chairman of the police service commission, Michael Taun, says the successful applicant is being appointed strictly on merit and will be expected to carry out the duties of commissioner, without fear or favour.