14 Apr 2010

Australia should sever links with VMF, says Transparency Vanuatu

8:36 pm on 14 April 2010

The president of Transparency International in Vanuatu, Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson, is calling on the Australia Government to sever its links with the controversial police paramilitary unit, the Vanuatu Mobile Force.

Last month, the Coroner, Justice Nevin Dawson, slammed the attitude and actions of the VMF in his inquest into the death of a prison inmate in Port Vila last year.

He called for changes to an organisation that placed itself above the law and whose role was not properly defined.

The Vanuatu Government is reportedly about to launch another inquiry but Ms Ferrieux Patterson says that's not necessary.

She says action should now be taken.

And she feels that as a major backer of the VMF, Australia has the most power at the moment to do something.

"It is easy at the moment for the Government of Australia to express their concern, and to say we have been supporting and we have been spending a lot of money in the armed force for many years, since independence, but to see what is happening is not welcome, so we are looking into reviewing our programme if the rule of law is not followed."

Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson of Transparency International in Vanuatu.