9 Feb 2005

Vanuatu may hire foreign police commissioner

7:40 pm on 9 February 2005

The Vanuatu Government is considering hiring its new police commissioner from overseas.

The Council of Ministers has endorsed in principle that the Minister of Home Affairs, George Wells, can appoint a non-citizen to the post.

The Government's decision is based on a perceived need for a neutral person in a role which has suffered from political interference for years.

Vanuatu last had an expatriate police commissioner 21 years ago, when David Saul was appointed to replace Englishman John Holloway.

The Opposition says the Government's decision is against the principle of independence and freedom.

The country has been without a permanent police commander since the previous commissioner Robert di Niro Obed was sacked in September after a failed attempt to arrest the then Prime Minister, Serge Vohor.