Australian Police May Return To Vanuatu, But Without Apologies
By Ricky Binihi
PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 17, 2012) – The Australian Federal Police will return to Vanuatu but an apology from Canberra for the alleged diplomatic blunder that involved in the arrest of a convicted fraudster who was part of Prime Minister Sato Kilman’s "delegation" at Sydney airport is unlikely.
AFP will return for the obvious reason that Vanuatu is desperate for the Aussie dollar to support its recently passed Vt20 Billion national budget.
And it is in Australia’s interest to keep Vanuatu as a "satellite" state for Canberra, pumping huge AusAID money into beefing up the Vanuatu Police Force and reportedly paying the salaries of the new Police graduates that had not been budgeted for last year.
Australia needs Vanuatu just as Vanuatu needs Australia.
Australia’s aid to Vanuatu has increased in recent years, and will amount to $70.1 million (Vt7 billion) in 2011-12. There are indications however that Australian foreign aid will be cut by almost $3 billion.
And Vanuatu’s import from Australia alone in 2010-2010 is $73.4 million (Vt7.4 billion) which makes some commentators says Vanuatu importers too contribute to some Aussie tax payer money.
The arrest of a political aide, who is a convicted fraudster, could have been avoided if the Australian High Commission in Port Vila had not issued him an Australian VISA or even cautioned the Prime Minister’s office about the possibility of Mr. Clarence Marae’s arrest once he sets foot on Australian soil.
As an advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr. Marae too should know that when an arrest warrant is issued for a person Australia does not forget, even if it takes over 10 years.
But the deportation of the AFP by the incumbent Prime Minister as a retaliatory measure over the manner in how the delegation of the Prime Minister of a sovereign state was treated in a foreign friendly country is healthy for the Vanuatu/Australia relations.
Many have cried foul over the sovereign decision to deport AFP as if Vanuatu has given the marching orders for the Australian High Commissioner.
Kilman has won widespread support for his actions of defining sovereignty. In some institutions like the Vanuatu Police Force where the majority of the 24 AFP were located, the local Police can now conduct themselves independently as officers of the Republic of Vanuatu without peering eyes.
If Port Vila expects an apology from Canberra it will never get it.
But AFP will return knowing that they have once been deported and Canberra will conduct its affairs with Vanuatu from now on knowing it owes it an apology.
Meanwhile there are questions about Australian aid to Vanuatu with some commentators saying not all the Vt7 Billion remains in Vanuatu some are boomeranged back to Australia as fat salaries for advisors and for school projects which have their materials imported in Australia.
Vanuatu Daily Post:http://www.vanuatudaily.com
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