Vaturisu looks to custom penalty for killings

The Vaturisu Council of Chiefs on Efate, Vanuatu’s most populated island, is developing a custom policy to deal with murderers.

The Chairman of the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs, Chief Simeon Poilapa, says the policy will be discussed at an upcoming council meeting and will also be addressed by the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs at its meeting in June.

Chief Poilapa says the proposal to develop a custom policy which would become law to deal with murderers was raised by Efate’s council of chiefs after “many killings”.

He says the move was also prompted by people not respecting the calls of the Efate chiefs to stop killings on the island, especially in the capital Port Vila.

He says the killing of two people from the northern Banks Islands earlier this year in Port Vila had been the final push for the council to take action.

He says the policy will also create a custom penalty for murder which the Vaturisu will put up to the national Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs and the Government for approval and enforcement.

Chief Poilapa says the killings which have taken place on Efate have resulted not only in loss of lives but also continue to affect the families of the victims emotionally.

He says the killings and their impact are “hard to forget”.

Chief Poilapa says the council sympathises deeply with the families of the two murder victims from the Banks Islands in Torba Province.

“These deaths were a wakeup call for us chiefs on Efate to take further action,” Chief Poilapa said.

“It is time we woke up and looked at the killings happening on Efate. We have to work hard now to make a [custom] law so people stop taking the lives of other people.

“There must be a custom penalty in place to deal with such crimes,” he said.

Chief Poilapa shared the Vaturisu’s condolences with the President of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs, Chief Willie Gray Plasua, for the death of Chief Plasua’s two Banks Island wantoks.

The Vanuatu National Council of Women, has also called for a strong penalty to deal with murderers.

The council of women has called on the government to enforce the life time jail penalty for murderers.

The Vaturisu Council of Chiefs will meet at Emua Village on 21 to 24 June when it will discuss on a custom policy to deal with murderers on the island.

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