VANUATU MARITIME BOARD IN DISARRAY

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, June 12) - There is a call in
Vanuatu for the Government to review the Maritime Authority’s board after a
series of controversial moves by the new chairman.

Board member Lennox Vutu has questioned chairman Christophe
Emelee’s experience, his hiking fees to members, and a conflict of interest
because he controls a fishing fleet.

Vutu said there also appears to be no justification for the
recent sacking of former ombudswoman Marie Noelle Ferriuex Patterson as Deputy
Commissioner of Maritime Affairs.

Patterson, who is taking legal action over the dismissal, said
the Authority is falling apart. She said the problems could be traced back to
the way the new board was appointed last December.

"The law was amended at the initiative of the minister and
we went one step back compared to what the comprehensive reform program is
trying to do. We went back to giving the political power to the minister to
appoint all the members of the board, which before was not the case, because we
had all the top civil servants on our board. So that from December we knew we
were on a different territory."

June 12, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/ 

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