VANUATU OMBUDSMAN WANTS HER POWERS RESTORED

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (August 4, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tuqiri)---Vanuatu's Ombudsman, Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, is concerned about the Vanuatu Government’s failure to restore her office's full powers --undermined when the previous government, under Serge Vohor, repealed the Ombudsman's Act.

The repeal became effective when the country's Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that it was both constitutional and valid.

Patterson says that the failure of the current government, under Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas, to enact a new Ombudsman's Act, severely weakens her powers to act on behalf of the people.

She says not only is her jurisdiction diminished, but the procedures and jurisprudence built over the last four years are being wasted.

Ferrieux-Patterson says the Vanuatu Government has made a commitment to introduce a replacement Ombudsman's bill in Parliament this year and also has promised to strengthen the office, ensuring transparency, openness and good governance.

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