The Government of Vanuatu has said it will not allow former Daily Post Media Director, Dan McGarry entry into Vanuatu until he fulfils the requirements set out by the Immigration Department.
During a press conference by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Minister for Internal Affairs, Andrew Napuat, has come out to say the ‘issue at hand with Dan McGarry is not Media Freedom.’
Napuat says ‘the Vanuatu Government has not issued warnings nor suspended any media in Vanuatu from reporting, publishing and printing news.’
Minister Napuat says ‘the so called “Media Freedom” concern is something Dan McGarry and media around the region came up with because they did not have the information we are providing you all now. If you look around the Media Industry in Vanuatu, not one media has been affected by this issue except for Dan McGarry himself.’
During the press conference, Internal Affairs Minister Andrew Napuat has bluntly told media that ‘Dan McGarry has mislead the public and media around the region.’
The Minister said that ‘the Vanuatu Government has always had a good relations with Media in Vanuatu and is maintaining that relationship.’
‘The main concerns’ say Minister Napuat ‘is not media in Vanuatu but media outside of Vanuatu and we do not know what their intentions are as it is not media in Vanuatu that is complaining’
‘Dan McGarry’s issue is he is a non citizen whose work permit has expired and he was working illegally and any foreigner working outside his country would know that when your permit nears its expiration date, it is your duty to apply again and Mr. McGarry made no effort to renew but continued to work illegally’ says Minister Napuat.
The Labour Department also said ‘they were onto Mr. McGarry after Enforcement Officers from the labour entered the Daily Post premises and found him working.’
‘Mr. McGarry was given a spot fine of VT100,000 which he has not yet paid and the Vanuatu Government has not received a receipt to show that he has paid the fine, but yet McGarry continues to attack the Vanuatu Government’ Minister Napuat told the press.
The Minister of Internal Affairs has stated clearly that ‘Mr. McGarry has not told the truth behind his work permit refusal and has led media in the region on a wild goose chase, at the same time tarnshing the reputation of Vanuatu’
‘To state he was writing about China and Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Government was not happy about it is a lie and not worth the mention as this is an issue thats already past tense”
The Immigration Department revealed during the Press Conference that Mr. McGarry applied to renew his residential permit on the 11th of November, 2019, as the Director of Trading Post but since he does not have a valid work permit, the Immigration Department cannot grant him a residential permit.
The Government said at the time of application, Dan McGarry continued to use the title Media Director, and even attended a media Conference in Australia, using that title, to which Immigration Officials were amazed as when his work permit expired, automatically he also looses his job.
The Department of Immigration profiled McGarry and their findings are McGarry cannot come back to Vanuatu on a Visitor Visa as he has stayed in Vanuatu through an employment residency visa and a special visa but never has he come back to Vanuatu on a visitors visa.
Mr. McGarry has a bond at an account at ANZ bank with just VT22,000 which is just enough for a ticket to Brisbane, Australia, but Mr. McGarry is a Canadian Citizen and that bond should have sufficient funds for a flight to Canada and this is also another requirement that he is yet to fulfil.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has stated that ‘when McGarry’s work permit was refused, he did not go back to Canada but went to nearby Australia via a Virgin Airway flight which also means he cannot support himself and that is also another issue with Visa requirements’
Napuat stated ‘He has his appeal process which is yet to come and has about 70% of normal requirements that he has yet to fulfil and yet attacks the Vanuatu Government on issues that do not relate to a work permit being expired.’
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Andrew Napuat, also asked that ‘Dan McGarry tell the media around the region that he was working illegally without a valid work permit and did not comply with Vanuatu laws’.