The Government, through the Minister of Internal Affairs, has expressed concern over recent happenings, particularly in Port Vila.

As the minister responsible for security, Alfred Maoh confirms that there are already tough measures in place and also drastic measures are taken into consideration in an effort to crack down on criminal activities.

Speaking to the local media yesterday, Minister Maoh says with Vanuatu approaching its 37th Independence Anniversary at the end of this month, and including other important upcoming events such as the ACP-EU Parliamentary meeting which is also taking place this month, and the Pacific Mini-Games in December, Vanuatu will be expecting visitors, tourists, dignitaries, therefore, peace, respect and harmony must prevail. As he conveys his condolences to the loved ones of both young people who lost their lives to alleged murder, Maoh admits that the recent killings has shown that people are lacking the value of respect and these barbaric actions cannot continue to happen, therefore, extreme measures must be adhered to in order to address these issues.

Following consultation with relevant authorities on these escalating crimes, a joint operation comprising of the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), Port Vila Municipality (PVMC), Department of Customs, and Shefa Provincial Government Council has been established to deal with the law and order issues.

The joint operation became effective as of last weekend and will continue until the Government is satisfied with its outcome.

According to Maoh, the operation is targeting nightclubs. All nightclub owners must be cautioned that nightclubs will be checked and ensured that they have the proper licenses to operate and also the nightclubs have met the required conditions to operate. Should there be evidence to justify that the owner is operating illegally; the clubs would be closed down immediately.

Nightclub owners are also advised to ensure that anyone wanting to enter any nightclubs in town will have to wear an ID to show to the securities at the entrance into the clubs.

Anyone who is below the ages of 18 years old will be strictly not allowed entry in the clubs. The minister adds that the operating hours of nightclubs will be reviewed.

The joint-operation is also targeting liquor shops.

Given that, a concerned minister of Internal Affairs questions where Vanuatu is heading with the sale of alcoholic beverages in many retail shops in the communities. He appeals strongly to parents and chiefs to address the issue of alcohol consumption in the communities, as alcohol-related problems is on the rise.

All liquor shops around town will be checked and to make sure that their operation complies with the law. Maoh reminds liquor shop owners and the public, that selling of alcoholic beverages within a residential area is already a breach to the law. Anyone caught not operating in accordance to the law will be dealt with. Anyone wanting to purchase any alcoholic beverage will have to show an ID.

The statement is also extended to kava bar owners who are selling alcoholic beverages. Kava bar owners who are also selling alcoholic beverages must have license to operate. Those that are caught operating without proper documents can have their items confiscated during the joint operation.

Minister Maoh said the Government will be tough at implementing these security measures therefore, all night club owners, liquor shop owners and kava bars must seriously consider these instructions.

On that note, Maoh also confirms that War Horse Saloon Bar will continue to remain closed pending the investigations.

The outcome of the investigations will determine the future of the bar, according to Maoh.