27 Jun 2006

Vanuatu Chiefs frustrated over amendments to Chiefs Bill

3:56 pm on 27 June 2006

Vanuatu's National Council of Chiefs has expressed dissatisfaction at the form in which the Chiefs Bill has been passed in parliament.

The Bill, which was passed unanimously this month, regulates the customary system and sets out guidelines under which the Chiefs operate in Vanuatu.

The Council's secretary general Selwyn Garu says there were three key provisions that the Chiefs wanted in the Bill but were taken out before the amended version was passed.

Mr Garu says the National Council wanted control of its own staffing; responsibility for managing its own funds; and for island councils of chiefs to have power to make by-laws.

He says they're disappointed these three provisions were dropped...

"We are not very satisfied. We are very frustrated with the way things are but we've been talking to the Prime Minister and other leaders and we had their advice that we need to pull those things back in and then for the next parliament session to actually see that some of these things are placed in the Bill so that the original intention of the Bill should be achieved."

Selwyn Garu