3 Apr 2006

Transparency International outraged over Vanuatu police actions

8:24 pm on 3 April 2006

Transparency International Vanuatu says the controversial arrest of the publisher of the Daily Post newspaper last week reflects on the serious lack of order in the country's police force.

Marc Neil Jones was thrown into jail for five hours on a charge of careless driving by 7 police officers who are also members of the Vanuatu Police rugby team.

Mr Neil Jones says the police were retaliating against the Daily Post's call for the National Rugby Union to discipline the Police team for their violent on-field behaviour.

TI's Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson says the heavy-handed actions of the police are an outrage.

"Especially when we compare our daily struggle to get the police to do anything. It's almost a regular joke here: no fuel, no staff, no gas. So to find seven people and cars to go and arrest Marc Neil-Jones for something that occurred in 2004 and is still being handled by the court looks what it is: harassment for daring to criticise some police officers."

Ms Ferrieux Patterson says the police force is falling apart because it hasn't had a permanent Commissioner for years.