President of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, Chief Willie Gray Plasua has condemned the recent brutal killings in Port Vila.

He shared his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased victims and stressed on the importance of mutual respect between individuals, which seems to have lost its true meaning.

“This pattern of unlawful behaviour does not reflect our culture of love and mutual respect,” he said.

“If we continue to abuse these principle values, it will leave us no choice but to adopt a new form of punishment which can ruin the integrity of our nation as one of the ‘happiest’ place on earth,” the chief said.

Chief Plasua is appealing to the Government to re-evaluate the Penal Code and reconsider making a new amendment which involves full customary laws for criminal cases.

He emphasised that according to the criminal law, the penalization is still not enough to punish these murderers.

“This is how it normally works, the court sends the guilty to the Correctional Centre for a period of time. With good behaviour, he can apply to the parole board and can be released before the sentence period lapses.

“And while the murderer walks as a free man, the family of the victim remains in misery as they continuously mourn the loss of their loved ones.

“The law is unbalanced and unfair, which is the reason why we need to reconsider making changes to the Penal Code.”

The chief said in the past when there is a homicide case, the customary laws are to give a piece of land and a woman to the family of the victim so they can “grow back the life that was taken”.

“These customary laws have long been used in the olden days to settle any disputes which involves death.”

He reiterated that the current law has yet to acknowledge the work of chiefs as the mediator of custom reconciliation between families.

“Our work is still not recognized in the Penal Code.”

Malvatumauri Chief Executive Officer, Jean Pierre Tom has highlighted the primary leading factor that may lead to these homicide cases is the lack of advocacy to the people on respecting and valuing women.

“It is important to recognize and appreciate the values of women,” he said

“Women should not be treated as toys used for pleasure and then thrown away. This mentality needs to stop.

“The core prevention is respecting each other.”

He concluded since it is 2020 and our country will be celebrating its 40th anniversary, “let’s hope these killings will be the first and the last with no more homicide reports throughout this year”.