The Council of Ministers (COM) has revoked its decision to establish a Ministry of Fisheries, Ocean and Maritime Affairs.
The COM made the decision during its meeting on Malekula in October last year, following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Independence Day.
In its meeting early this month, COM instructed the Prime Minister’s Office to re-submit the paper following provisions of the Government Act.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Prime Minister’s Office, Fred Vurobaravu, said the Minister of Justice and Community Services and the Prime Minister will re-submit the paper to COM after hosting consultations.
The government intends to replace the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MoJCS) with the new ministry.
The terminated Director General (DG) of the MoJCS, Dorosday Kenneth Watson, has sought judicial review on the process by which the COM’s decision No.179 was made, alleging breach of provisions of the Government Act.
The matter has proceeded for trial as the court was satisfied Watson had an arguable case in relation to alleged breaches of subsections 13(5) and 6 and 15 (1)-(3) of the Government Act.
Subsections 13 (5) and 6 of the Act states: “(5) Before the DCO considers any submission or paper, the Secretary must send a copy of the submission or paper to each member of the DCO and to the first political advisor for each minister.
“(6) Subject to subsection (7), the Chairperson of the DCO must not list a submission or paper for the DCO to consider unless he or she is satisfied that:
“(a)There has been proper consultation with other ministries in relation to the submission or paper; (b) the first political advisor in the ministry sponsoring the submission or paper has approved it.”
Section 15 (1) “the Council must not consider a submission unless the Council has available to it advice from the Attorney General on the legal implications of the submission.
“(2) The Council must not consider a submission unless it has available to it advice from the Director General of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management on the financial implications of the submission and whether the submission complies with the principles of responsible fiscal management.
“(3) The advice referred to in subsections (1) and (2) must be provided within a reasonable time before the council meets.”
According to the judicial review judgement, “It is open to the defendant (government) at any time to revoke the decision for its non-compliance with the requisite process, and make a new decision in accordance with the provisions of the Government Act.”
PSC said in the former DG’s termination letter that she was removed for committing “serious misconduct” by demonstrating her intention against the implementation of the government policy.
PRO Vurobaravu said the government anticipates that it is likely the court would rule that it (government) must re-submit the COM paper, following provisions of the Government Act.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST