The Port Vila City Council Warden section has a new Chief Warden.
He is Herve Hopkins, a former member of the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF).
Hopkins has 17 years of experience in the VPF and brings with him a lot of experience.
Honore Kasten was the last chief warden in 2018 thus the position had been occupied by various acting chief wardens.
New Chief Warden, Hopkins, thanks the Council for his appointment and said discipline will be his main priority. He gave an example of drunk people and said if his officers handle them, the officers too must show good example and not become drunk in public.
Hopkins says he has already submitted some draft plans for planned changes to section 19 of the Municipalities Act [CAP 126].
He says these laws are too old and must be changed to meet Vanuatu’s current situation.
Hopkins says when it comes to obstruction of his officers from duty, the amended law must allow the municipal wardens to charge, arrest the offender and take the matter to court.
Hopkins told those who will serve under him that he will train them to replace him one day.
He also said the installment of CCTV cameras around the city is in the plan as it will save costs and the whole city could be monitored from a central location.
Rapid responses will be deployed when something suspicious is seen on screen. Hopkins says there will be more public awareness done on the city by-laws.
Acting Chief Warden, Mark Kalo, handed the keys over to Hopkins and thanked all the officers for cooperating with him for the last six months. He says this is the right time to have a new principal chief warden.
Councilor Jimmy Manses who is the Chairman of the Law Enforcement Committee, congratulated Hopkins on his appointment and says he believes in the city by-laws as he feels it is in the best interest of the people of this city.
Port Vila City Council Town Clerk, Peter Sakita, acknowledged Hopkins’ new proposals and mentioned that in terms of compliance, traffic policing seems to be the main focus.
Sakita says last year the Council collected over Vt7 million in traffic fines.
He says this year they are targeting 12 million vatu.
Sakita says towing will also be introduced into the city police duties and people that illegally park where they are not permitted to, will have their vehicles towed away and have to pay a fine to get their vehicles back.
Sakita says in the past municipal wardens were always criticized by the public, however he strongly believes Hopkins can turn things around this year.
Acting Lord Mayor Marie Louise Milne says when Port Vila was rebranded and officially became a City, a new image is now expected.
She thanked the Town Clerk for Hopkins’ appointment and says it was done fairly without any political motivation.
Milne wants change and calls for professionalism at all times from the City wardens. She acknowledges them for the great work they have done in upholding the city by-laws.