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PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipress, July 31) - An attempt by the Vanuatu police to foil the illegal export of Vanuatu kava to Nouméa last week did not stop the illegal smuggle of 12 bags to the French Pacific territory, PACNEWS reported.

Although these 12 bags of kava may now be under the authority of customs officials in Nouméa, the police interception showed how far kava exporters would demonstrate to government their dissatisfaction with the current monopoly in place.

Mrs. Ginette Dousseron, a long-time kava dealer and exporter claimed that she holds a valid license issued by the Vanuatu Commodities and Marketing Board (VCMB) and therefore has the right to export kava to New Caledonia.

Vanuatu Daily Post was told that Police raided MV Havannah on Friday (28 July) and ordered the crew to off-load the kava.

Despite the police interception, at least 12 bags were smuggled through without proper authorization.

Daily Post was told however that order from the Prosecutions Office came from the trade ministry's first political advisor, Clifford Bice who is involved with VCMB after the sacking of its general manager.

The consignment was intercepted by police who acted on a tip off.

Daily Post was informed that the allegations against Dousseron were false and that she did have a valid license issued by the outgoing general manager Georgie Calo. But reliable sources have informed Daily Post that the license might have been revoked.

Amidst the controversies, police in the French territory have forced protestors to disperse after a small group protested outside the Maison Du Vanuatu building.

"That shows that the protest against Maison du Vanuatu was illegal; that's why the court decided to send the police against the protest," said Mr. AlainTerrien at Maison Du Vanuatu in Nouméa.

He labeled the protest as coming from a "small minority group of people."

August 1, 2006


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