26 Sep 2007

Commission of Inquiry into March 3 riots was bias, says Vanuatu police commander

6:38 pm on 26 September 2007

A leading Vanuatu police officer claims the Commission of Inquiry into the March 3rd clashes in Port Vila was biased.

The Commission's recent report on the violence which left three people dead in a tribal conflict near Port Vila's Blacksands squatter settlement is highly critical of the police response to the tension.

The report said the police force was unprepared and late to respond to the trouble, and that those making the decisions were out of their depth.

The Commander of the Southern Region, John Taleo, admits there are lessons for the Police force to learn from the clashes.

But he says the Inquiry was misguided because it wasn't undertaken by independent commissioners.

"Some people implicated within the force were not mentioned in the Commission of Inquiry report. I feel that the Commission of Inquiry report is so bias. They should nominate independent people. They shouldn't nominate people who are involved in politics and also one of the Commission, his brother was Assistant Commissioner of Police at the time during the operation. His name was never mentioned in the Commission of Inquiry."