16 Sep 2010

Transparency Vanuatu doubts new VMF leader means culture change

1:26 pm on 16 September 2010

Transparency International in Vanuatu says it believes there is little hope the new commander of the Vanuatu Mobile Force can bring a change to its attitude and behaviour.

Lieutenant Colonel Aru Maralau has been appointed as commander of the VMF.

The para-military force has been under scrutiny after a Coroner's report into the death of a prisoner last year criticised the force for placing itself above the law and having a culture of violence.

The president of Transparency Vanuatu, Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, says concerns remain as there is no separation between the force and the police.

"The hopes are probably limited but as far as daily, there's probably a bit hope we never know about the discipline or maybe having a full-time boss now will maybe change or input more discipline. But I'm hesitating because in the coroner's report, there really was a description of a culture of non-accountability, of non-respect of the law. And to change that culture, that's difficult."

Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson says only time will tell how the new commander will perform.