Former Vanuatu Ambassador to EU calls for body to screen passport applicants


While wishing the Vanuatu Government the best 43rd Independence Anniversary, the first former Ambassador to Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries in the European Union (EU) from 2007-2018, Roy Mickey Joy is urging the government to set up a special organisation to screen names of applicants interested in applying for a Vanuatu passport.

He said the United Kingdom (UK) and EU have cancelled Vanuatu’s Visa Waiver because it has become clear that international criminals on wanted lists round the world are using Vanuatu’s passport to evade being caught entering countries where they have been banned.

“Vanuatu was the only country in the region to be involved in the negotiations and subsequently the signing of the Visa Waiver Agreement between Vanuatu and the European Union,” the former Dean of Ambassadors explained.

“This was in the days when the Union Kingdom was still a member of the EU until the British pulled out on 31 January 2020.

“Britain is a very big country and they have had issues with countries big and small around the world whether it was Kiev in Ukraine or Moscow in Russia.”

What it means is that with a Vanuatu passport, one person can enter a total of 27 member countries of the EU and that is the biggest threat.

In addition, in Vanuatu individuals are taking advantage of the lucrative initiative to sell Vanuatu passports without any consideration on who their clients are.

This has also contributed to the current substantial number of Vanuatu passport holders round the world. Among the holders are suspected criminals who successfully evade individual countries’ criminal safety nets.

The former Ambassador said this has threatened Vanuatu Government’s international lucrative revenue earning programme.

He said selling one Vanuatu Passport to a single person would earn the country approximately VT40 million (US$337,000).

While it is a highly lucrative revenue earning exercise, Joy said it is crucial that Vanuatu set up such a body to scrutinise all applications to ensure that only “clean applicants” are granted a Vanuatu passport.

He cautioned that the cancellation of the Visa Waiver not be seen as an opportunity to threaten an otherwise healthy historical partnership between Vanuatu and the United Kingdom and France.

As the former colonisers of the former New Hebrides until the countries granted Sovereignty to the Republic of Vanuatu on Independence Day on 30 July 1980, the former Ambassador said this historical link has been enjoyed by the people of Vanuatu this far and should not be used to threaten the decision by UK and EU.

“The best way out is for Vanuatu to immediately set up a legally approved body with linkages to international counterparts, to screen all applicants to weed out all dangerous individuals and undesirables from being provided with a Vanuatu passport to enter Europe or Asia or anywhere else in the world, where they have been black listed, said the former Vanuatu diplomat.