Common sense has finally prevailed! Or was it forcefully driven into the grey matter of those entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring our borders remained clear of criminals?
Nigel John Giltrap - a convicted criminal from New Zealand since day one, has been banned from entering Vanuatu again because of his dodgy past, which somehow was not picked up in 2013/14 when he entered Vanuatu.
But at what cost or harm, you have to wonder?
Campaign for Justice (C4J) has maintained all along, since 2019 or earlier, that this man could not have passed the character test, had people in authority done their jobs.
Sadly, it was as if no one wanted to listen; or did Mr Giltrap bribe his way in? That is the million dollar question for another time. But it comes down to this: We have either blind leaders at the helm, or very culpable ones, who intentionally allowed someone of Giltrap’s pedigree in.
Thanks to the current director of immigration, Mr Nigel Giltrap has now been banned, following an order signed on August 2, 2022.
Apparently, his residency visa was cancelled way back in October 2020, for a number of wrongs committed under Section 49 of the Immigration Act. It is unclear why they’ve taken this long to declare Nigel a ‘prohibited immigrant’ as required by law. Should we even be surprised at this flagrant flouting of the law – something so culturally embedded in our systems?
According to immigration, Mr Giltrap after his release from jail and return to NZ at the end of 2019, tried to re-enter the country on 29th July 2020, by obtaining his visa through PKF Vanuatu Ltd – for some unknown reasons. On the same date, he submitted an application with a forged police clearance to immigration.
In their assessments, the Department of Immigration found that the owner of Nicon slipway in Santo misled local authorities by providing such false documents. By doing so, he breached Section 49(e) of the Immigration Act no.17, 2010.
Following on from this cancellation, the director of Immigration proceeded to making Mr Giltrap a “prohibited immigrant” under Section 50(1) (d) of the Immigration Act.
The assessment report noted – amongst other factors, that Mr Giltrap did not pass the character test, as his NZ police clearance certificate showed he had been sentenced to imprisonment multiple times in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
In fact he had been sentenced five times by the courts in New Zealand. For this reason, he was deemed ineligible to enter the country.
On a more positive note for him though, the law provides an opportunity for him to appeal directly to the Minister, if he wishes to make another attempt with his application; and that the grounds for the visa cancellation, could not be sustained.
But then we have to ask, ‘can you polish a turd? Or could a leopard change its spots?
In 2019 Giltrap was convicted in Vanuatu by the Chief Justice for assaulting an elderly couple in 2018. For two years since then, he tried everything under the sun to avoid justice. And it appeared he would get away with it all, having been involved in other violent conducts. When he was finally brought before the courts, Giltrap pleaded not guilty and repeatedly pled his innocence; or that he had acted in self-defence. But the evidence was too much for him to evade.
Mr Giltrap was granted approval by Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) as an investor in Vanuatu in 2013, overlooking the fact that he had been tried and sentenced to jail for assault and domestic violence in his home country.
At the time of our own investigations, Giltrap was tried on seven counts, one of which was a charge of assault with a weapon in 2009. The other six counts were laid under ss19 and 49(i) (a) of the Domestic Violence Act 1965 of the NZ law. The jury acquitted him on two of the domestic violence Act counts and convicted him on the rest of the five counts.
In this jurisdiction, Mr Giltrap was found guilty on 28th June 2019 for assaulting Mr Quinto and his wife Ruth on 20th March 2018 at Si Chuan restaurant in Luganville over a disputed invoice. He was initially handed a 14-month jail term for his part in bullying and cowardly assaulting the elderly couple. Giltrap’s sentence was later reduced by the Court of Appeal in November 2019 to two months, although his conviction was upheld. He was later released after spending 4 months in jail.
Under Vanuatu Immigration law, Giltrap should never have been allowed in in the first place. VIPA has since admitted that Giltrap’s entry was an “over-sight”, following enquiries by C4J.