6 Aug 2002

Vanuatu's opposition leader criticises PM and head of state over police controversy

5:05 pm on 6 August 2002

Vanuatu's president is being called upon to revoke the appointment of the new police commissioner, Mael Apisai.

Opposition leader, Willie Jimmy, is also criticising the prime minister for his reaction to 15 people being arrested on charges of criminal conspiracy over the appointment.

The PM, Edward Natapei, called the police action unlawful and irresponsible.

But, Mr Jimmy says the law should apply to everybody even if those charged include the attorney general and Mr Apisai, who didn't make the shortlist for the job and wasn't interviewed for it.

"The Prime minister falls short in his address, to actually clear the air of confusion, of procedural requirements and also the opposition lay part of the blame on the head of state, who actually signs the instrument of appointments. He should have come out and clearly tell the public who was actually named on the instrument of appointment that was signed by him."

Members of the Vanuatu police force are also calling for the dumping of those on the police services commission which selected Mr Apisai after ignoring the recommendations of a panel set up to choose a candidate.

The Supreme court is reported to have set the case over criminal conspiracy for the 16th of June.