19 Oct 2004

Vanuatu Government launches more attacks on foreign advisors

9:21 pm on 19 October 2004

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Serge Vohor, says an attempt to have him arrested last month amounted to a judicial coup initiated by foreign aid donors.

Mr Vohor was eventually summonsed on contempt of court charge over comments about the Chief Justice he had made in Parliament, but the Supreme Court ruled the comments were covered by Parliamentary privilege.

Mr Vohor told a summit on the country's Comprehensive Reform Programme that certain kinds of foreign involvement, including that in the judicial services, needs to be reviewed.

Both New Zealand and Australia has provided advisors to the judicial sector in Vanuatu in recent years.

Last month the Government expelled to two Australia police and announced it would review the role and value of some foreign advisors working with the Government.

The Prime Minister also said the CRP, which aimed to rationalise government services, was a failed initiative because it was driven by foreigners.

He says it needs to be based on traditional and cultural principles.

The Minister for the CRP, Marcellino Pipite, says the program is a failed exercise because the country is yet to see any benefit from it.