Police in Port Vila have been asked to investigate the location of a shotgun cartridge found inside the Public Gallery of the Chamber of the Parliament of Vanuatu.
Acting Clerk of Parliament, Leon Teter, confirmed that one item of ammunition of a No. 16 gauge shotgun was found under a chair on the topmost level of the public gallery of the Chamber. It was found by the chief security officer of Parliament, the Sergeant-At-Arms, David Daniel on Monday early morning, June 5.
Teter said a report has gone to the police to investigate the incident. But the office of the Police Criminal Investigation Department says they have not received any report of the find or request to investigate such an incident.
Teter said this was the first time such an incident had taken place in the 36-year history of the Vanuatu Parliament. He hinted that security would be tightened in the near future for people visiting Parliament.
Parliament opened in its First Ordinary Session of year on Thursday morning, May 1 when it was addressed by the Head of State, President Baldwin Lonsdale.
After responses from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition that morning the session was adjourned until Monday morning when the cartridge was found.
This would show that someone who brought the item into the chamber did so during the opening of parliament that was addressed by the Head of State. It is still unclear whether or not the red plastic casing gun cartridge, was left there by mistake.
Acting Clerk Teter added that at this stage, they have no way of knowing who was responsible for this action, but the police are investigating the incident.
In his report to the Commissioner of Police, Colonel Albert Nalpini, seeking police investigation into the matter, Sergeant-At-Arms Daniel said that on Monday morning at 6 o’clock he started his round of checks, opening the chamber doors, switching on lights and before the session resumed.
“I went up the public gallery and checked the first row of chairs including the second row and all was clear, finally went to the third row above and on my way to the first chair and under it I found a bullet (cartridge), which I describe as a shotgun bullet with a red plastic color.
“I then took a snap shot of the bullet with my phone camera and covered it with an A4 paper and dropped it on my office desk,” he said in his report.
He then informed the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Speaker of Parliament of the incident.
The session went on without incident until it closed on Thursday and will reopen on Monday in its Extraordinary Session.