14 May 2012

More Vanuatu opposition criticism of AFP expulsion

1:00 pm on 14 May 2012

Vanuatu's deputy opposition leader, Edward Natapei, says the move by the government to expel the Australian Federal Police was a short-sighted over-reaction and an immature decision.

Last week, the government ordered the AFP out of Vanuatu in a move it said was a response to an alleged breach of protocol when the Prime Minister Sato Kilman was in transit in Sydney last month.

When Mr Kilman was in Sydney, one of his advisors, Clarence Marae, was arrested for an alleged tax offence.

Calling on Mr Kilman to urgently review the expulsion, Mr Natapei says it has damaged links with Australia.

Mr Natapei says it's clear that the government took the decision because of the arrest at Mr Marae and not because Australian protocol authorities were disrespectful to the Prime Minister.

He says the AFP were merely executing a court-sanctioned warrant of arrest on Mr Marae.

Mr Natapei says Mr Kilman shouldn't have appointed a person with a criminal conviction as his private secretary.