The Council of Ministers (COM) is still waiting for the findings of the Public Service Commission’s investigation into the cargo flight which carried 18 passengers from New Caledonia last month.

Prime Minister Bob Loughman revealed this in parliament yesterday, in response to a question from the Leader of Opposition, Ralph Regenvanu.

Mr. Regenvanu told Daily Post that under Public Service Commission (PSC) Act, PSC has only 21 days to conduct investigations and produce a report. He noted the 21 days had since lapsed.

PSC Chairman, Simil Johnson said the investigation is still underway. Mr. Johnson said it is a long process.

The flight from New Caledonia had two positive border cases, which were later determined to be delta variant. PSC was instructed by the COM to find who authorized the 18 passengers to board the aircraft that was assigned to carry only cargo.

As a result, the Vanuatu Consul in New Caledonia, Serge Mahe and the Director of National Disaster Management Office, Abraham Nasak, were suspended on full salary.

While authorities said they are not aware of the coming of the passengers, email correspondences between the departments of Foreign affairs and Health showed that they were aware of the repatriation of the 18 passengers.

“’We take and will facilitate the flight’ and ‘Ok from MOH side’ were two phrases that showed that the two departments were aware of the passengers on the cargo flight.

A question was also raised on why the Minister of Health, Silas Bule, didn’t deal with the flight instead of the Director of Public Health. The amendment of the Public Health Act last year gave powers to the minister to do so, stipulating: “the minister shall be responsible for promoting the health and wellbeing of the people of Vanuatu and shall be responsible for the implementation, administration and enforcement of this Act”.

The two positive cases are still in the Isolation Ward at the Vila Central Hospital.


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