27 Sep 2007

Vanuatu government denies security is less of a priority

7:21 am on 27 September 2007

Vanuatu's Minister for Internal Affairs says security remains a priority area for the government.

His comments follow findings from a Commission of Inquiry into the March 3rd violence in Port Vila that said the government has let security drop down its list of top priorities in recent years.

The Commission's recent report on the tribal clashes which left three people dead is highly critical of the police response to the tension.

The report said the police force was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the situation as it escalated, linking these weaknesses with the decreasing funding for security by government.

However the Minister, Jo Natuman, says security is a top priority for the government's resources.

"We intend to recruit more police for the coming financial year. That Submission has been included in the police budget - it's a new initiative so the police will probably be getting a slight increase in funding including an increase in their recruitment in the members of the force, plus what we call special constables are being considered."

Jo Natuman.