12 Jun 2003

Call to review actions of Board of Vanuatu's Maritime Authority

12:58 pm on 12 June 2003

There is a call in Vanuatu for the Government to review the Maritime Authority's board after a series of controversial moves by the new chairman.

Board member Lennox Vutu made the call and he criticises chairman Christophe Emelee for his inexperience, for hiking fees to members, and a conflict of interest because he controls a fishing fleet.

Mr Vutu says there also appears to be no justification for the recent sacking of high profile former ombudswoman, Marie Noelle Ferriuex Patterson as Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs.

Mrs Patterson, who is taking legal action over what she was was an unjustified dismissal, says the Authority is falling apart.

She says the problems can be traced back to the way the new board was appointed last December.

"The law was amended at the initiative of the minister and we went one step back compared to what the comprehensive reform programme is trying to do,. We went back to giving the political power to the minister to appoint all the members of the board, which before was not the case, because we had all the top civil servants on our board. So that from December we knew we were on a different territory."