Dear Editor,

The people of TORBA Province are facing difficulties in accessing Judiciary services.

This is due to the absence of an officer on the ground. The Court Clerk was transferred to Port Vila in 2016 and since then the Judiciary Service officials in TORBA haven’t been replaced.

This organisation oversees cases when someone breaks the law, and other matters such as court orders and legal information from the court system. Judiciary Service officials must be present in order for the people to have access to the services.

Due to the absence of the court officials, it is very difficult to deal with criminal cases. For instance, when very serious crimes such as murder and assault cases are reported to police, the defendant and the victim were referred to Santo for court hearing.

This is an expensive exercise, particularly with expenses such as airfares and accommodation. In addition, information from the Vanuatu Women’s Center office in TORBA has revealed that in civil cases such as domestic violence where a court order is required, especially for family protection there is always a delay. The delay may take up to six months or more. Other problems such as thefts and defamation are sorted out by chief and other local leaders which is regarded as an informal justice system.

So, the judiciary service in this province is not very effective.

When will the TORBA people access the judiciary services they deserve? They are ni-Vanuatu citizens just like everybody from other provinces in Vanuatu.

The Vanuatu Government must take this matter very seriously, especially the Ministry of Justice and Community Service and appoint a Court Clerk to work at the Court house in Sola so the people of TORBA can have access to this service at their doorstep.

Thank you.

Richard Luke

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