25 Mar 2011

TI Vanuatu restates coup risk amid police woes

1:40 pm on 25 March 2011

The president of the Vanuatu chapter of Transparency International, Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson, has no regrets over her statement that if political corruption isn't dealt with the country could face a coup.

The prime minister's spokesman, Simeon Athy, took issue with the comment saying it was irresponsible, could undermine investment and that she might be investigated.

But Mrs Ferrieux Patterson says she was reflecting what people tell her organisation and the lack of action by the country's political leaders after two reports that have been scathingly critical of police behaviour.

She says it's important there's open discussion of the issues and she's already spoken with the prime minister, Sato Kilman.

"We are looking in the same direction. You know I am sure they're encountering some difficulties in politics but you know we all want the same for our children, we want a stable Vanuatu. And I think we can meet in this type of aim. I'm a lawyer, my husband is a real estate developer and my statement is not to damage the country, my statement is to ensure the country will flourish."