23 Jul 2007

Vanuatu court order taboo be removed from public building

3:28 pm on 23 July 2007

Vanuatu's supreme court has ordered a traditional taboo to be removed from local government headquarters in Malampa Province, after it caused several days of disruption.

A landowning family placed namele or taboo palm tree branches on the offices' doors last Thursday, as part of an ongoing land compensation dispute.

No-one would enter the buildings while the branches were in place.

The dispute hinges on the status of land that the province's public buildings are on - some of which is public and some private.

The branches have now been removed from the departments of public works, agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

But a dispute remains with one family over the land that the local court and police station are on.

Vanuatu's Minister of Lands Maxime Carlot Korman says he's about to negotiate a lease agreement with them, and he's confident of success.

"Everything will be settled in 24 hours, it's the only problem I think is we need a little bit of discussion between the Department of Land and the family."

Vanuatu's Minister of Lands Maxime Carlot Korman.