16 Feb 2010

Vanuatu environmental report on tuna plant lacks independence - watchdog

2:46 pm on 16 February 2010

Transparency Vanuatu says a belated environmental impact report over a tuna plant in the Port Vila suburb of Blacksands will not be independent.

The EIA, which should have been done before the plant was built, was only called for after a public outcry as the project neared completion.

Transparency president, Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson, says not only has the Government contravened the country's environmental laws, the process it set up lacks independence.

She suggests there is a conflict of interest, with both main parties in the tuna plant, the Chinese and Vanuatu Governments, too closely involved in the EIA process.

And Ms Ferrieux Patterson says instead of choosing locals to make the assessments overseas consultants should have been sought.

"It is not done as a full basically independent study that totally assesses the advantages or disadvantages from an economic or social point of view to have such a factory there. Who would have the courage to state such a thing."