27 Oct 2005

Vanuatu minister calls for sweeping changes at VMA

2:49 pm on 27 October 2005

Vanuatu's Lands minister Willie Jimmy has called for sweeping changes at the Vanuatu Maritime Authority.

Mr Jimmy says the VMA, which is currently embroiled in dozens of legal cases, is in a big mess which is costing the government dearly.

He points to the compensation of around 180-thousand US dollars being paid to two former VMA officers for their wrongful dismissal as ruled by the Supreme Court.

Mr Jimmy has echoed calls for the sacking of VMA chairman Christopher Emelee, who has been accused, by the ombudsman Peter Taurakoto, of breaching the Labour law in appointing a foreign consultant.

"Also the current commissioner. The current commissioner is totally incapable of handling VMA - Les Napuati. When I was the minister for Infrastructure and Public Utilities, I already recommended that he should be sacked. But I was out of the office six months after and he was still there and he did not even assist in solving any problems in favour of the government."

Willie Jimmy says that to be an effective institution, the VMA needs a complete restructuring and new staff.