19 Mar 2010

Australia urged to stop funding Vanuatu's VMF

12:48 pm on 19 March 2010

A Vanuatu government MP says Australia's aid to the paramilitary Vanuatu Mobile Force is a resounding failure and must be cut off immediately.

Ralph Regenvanu made the call after a coroner's report of an inquest into the death of a man in VMF custody.

The Coroner, Justice Nevin Dawson, was strongly critical of the VMF, calling it elitist, with a culture of violence and no respect for the law.

Mr Regenvanu says this culture has been apparent for years but substantial aid from Australia has done nothing to reverse it, a question he says he has regularly put to past High Commissioners.

"And I said, how come you guys continue to pour money into this black hole that you never get any financial transparency out of, you never see any results - they are probably as useless as they always were. And now they are contributing to becoming an element of lawlessness in the country. Why does this emphasis on funding then still continue which doesn't fit within the normal parameters of accountability for other projects in other sectors."

Ralph Regenvanu, a Vanuatu government MP