Vanatu Daily Post – By Richard M. Nanua
A Paama chief has called for tougher penalty to be imposed on killers in Vanuatu to deter future offenders.
Paramount chief Rizen Galep Avockman of Voravor Village on Paama, where late Robson Mariki came from said that the offence of killing in Vanuatu is now increasing and authorities need to start looking to tighten the law again.
Chief Avockman expressed heartfelt concern over one of his community member who was allegedly beaten to death last weekend.
The cause of death is yet to be confirmed as authorities are still tracking evidence as to whether he was beaten up by staff at Warhorse Saloon or by the police officers who were on call that night.
Mr Avockman condemned the killing of late Maraki and described the action as cowardly, while urging the authorities concerned to make sure whoever is behind the alleged attack should be dealt with accordingly.
He said that Vanuatu was founded on custom and Christian principles but the past actions did not reflect any of those values with three brutal killings (Port Vila and Tanna) reported to the police just this month.
He said that usually, people working in the bars and nightclubs were supposed to look after their clients and control issue rising within their premises but not taking the law into their own hands by assaulting them and treat them like animals.
He also called on the people of Voravor living in Port Vila to respect the custom values they have been taught back on Paama.
Chief Avockman also stated that there is also need for the police to make more ‘beat patrol’ to re-claim the trust of the citizens wherever they go.
The deceased’s uncle, Mansen Saul, said that it is a record month of intentional assault that led to deaths in the nation and he is asking the Justice Minister and other relevant authorities to ponder the legislation introduced in section 106 (1)(b) of the Penal Code Act CAP 135 some years ago to be applied in all killings, which is life imprisonment.
Mr Saul said that a similar incident happened to another relative who was bashed to death some years ago.
He said that the existing laws put his two killers behind bars for three years but got their freedom back after serving half of the sentence.
He said that current penalties are too lenient on killers, and not a deterrence to armed violence.
He said that after years of body count from such actions, it is time to act.
He said that it is not just the number of killings, but the cold, callous way in which many of them are committed – with total disregard for the value of human life.
Late Maraki, the latest victim, was 23 years old when he was allegedly killed and his body was supposed to go through autopsy yesterday afternoon.