30 Jul 2002

Vanuatu Police Service Commission accused of deceiving public

10:28 am on 30 July 2002

Vanuatu's former Ombudsman, Marie Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, says the Police Services Commissioner, Michael Taun, is deceiving the public by claiming the new Police Commissioner was chosen on merit.

Mrs Patterson was one of four shortlisted candidates for the job and recommended by a selection panel of community, business and public leaders set up by Mr Taun.

But Mr Taun went outside the list and chose a former army officer, Major Mael Apisai, as the new Commissioner.

Mrs Patterson says Mr Taun gave in to political pressure in making the appointment.

She says expectations of public sector reform have now been damaged by Mr Taun's actions.

"It would have been better almost if the chairman had not repeatedly said that it was an appointment on merit, that he will not give in to political pressure but they wanted to pretend that there is some reform going on. And people would be better to say we do it the Melanesian way, we choose whom we want as we want."

Marie Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson