Vanuatu. According to COUNTRYAAH, Vanuatu has a population of 292,680 (2018). A report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in February showed that Vanuatu was one of the Pacific region’s fastest growing economies. Growth was estimated at 4 percent in 2009, which was the seventh consecutive year of positive growth. In 2010, growth was expected to increase to 4.5 percent, thanks to increased revenue in the construction industry and the tourism sector. Aid is another important source of income for the country.
Vanuatu investigating judge, Nevin Dawson, was temporarily forced to leave the country in March after he and his family were threatened to death by a member of Vanuatu’s semi-military police force Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF). New Zealander Dawson had a two-year order as investigating judge in Vanuatu’s highest court. In an investigation into the death of a prisoner, Dawson had revealed a culture of violence and brutality within the VMF, which he said was sanctioned by the highest level of police management. Dawson expressed strong criticism of the police force and also said it was elitist and did not respect the laws. The death threat caused the government and MP Ralph Regenvanu to demand that Australia’s financial support for the VMF be withdrawn immediately. According to Regenvanu, the culture of violence within the security police was well known before,
Prime Minister Edward Natapei was forced out of his post on December 2 following a vote of no confidence in Parliament that was conducted while abroad. Natapei had traveled just hours before the vote and was on his way to the UN Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico. Before leaving, Natapei had tried to exclude five MPs who were preparing for the vote. Natapei was elected prime minister in 2008, but temporarily lost his post in the fall of 2009 when he was expelled from parliament when he was abroad. During his more than two years as prime minister, he also survived a series of distrustful votes. Natapei was replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Sato Kilman, who immediately formed a new government.