3 Sep 2003

Vanuatu chiefs call for more power to control their people

4:57 pm on 3 September 2003

Vanuatu's National Council of Chiefs has passed a motion to introduce permits for people moving between provinces.

The Council's spokesperson, Sandy Ishmael, says this is part of an overall demand for the government to amend the constitution to allow the chiefs to control people's freedom of movement.

He says this will include sending people who have committed crimes or are unable to find work back to their home provinces.

Mr Ishmael says there is concern about the high crime rates in Port Vila and Luganville and the only solution is to give the chiefs more policing powers.

"We propose to empower the chiefs again to rule their people, not to go against the government, but to support the government, to have our people under control and we want to have entry permits into other provinces.........the chiefs are civil policemen ...we are trying to promote being trained up with our national police"

Sandy Ishamel in Vanuatu .