3 Oct 2012

Vanuatu police leadership rift unresolved

1:43 pm on 3 October 2012

There is a continued rift in Vanuatu over the leadership of the police.

The Police Service Commission has again reiterated that Joshua Bong is the police commissioner despite pressure by the government to sideline him.

The minister of internal affairs, who is responsible for the police, Georges Wells, has urged the Commission to recommend Arthur Caulton to the President as acting commissioner until a new commissioner is appointed.

Mr Wells says legal advice from the Attorney General's Office says the decision of the Commission to appoint Mr Bong last Sunday was illegal.

Amid pressure by Mr Wells, the Commission met again last night and reconfirmed Mr Bong.

The Commission's vice chairman, Willie Karie, has rejected any political interference, saying the commission is an independent constitutional body set up by parliament.

A senior police officer, who asked not to be named, says the involvement of Mr Wells has complicated the issue.