NOTHING

….. if they are following the example of these LEADERS – men who quite obviously believe in and practice the principles of transparency and accountability!GJP Release 2014 MP Spending Reports

If YOUR MP isn’t following their example then you must ask yourself – WHAT ARE THEY HIDING FROM YOU?

 

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Dear Prime Minister, whoever you are.

anonymousAt the time of writing this, I have no idea who in fact will be holding the reins of office as Prime Minister next week.

However, whoever it turns out to be, you will have the opportunity to be the very first SUCCESFUL PM we have had in Vanuatu this decade. EVERY Prime Minister over the past five years has FAILED this nation’s people. HOW? By simply allowing corruption to thrive instead of taking the most important step possible to stop it – establishing an independent but government-funded anti-corruption agency, preferably an ICAC-style agency similar to those established in Fiji, Hong Kong and Australia for instance.

On 14th March, 2010, the Vanuatu Government ratified the UN Convention to do exactly this. Five years on, nothing has been done by any government to honour this obligation.

It is not just the constant changes of government that has led to this as some have been in power long enough to at least initiate the formation of such an agency. Of course, it’s not just the previous PM’s who have been at fault. There has also been a distinct lack of interest in this matter by past Ministers of Justice, Ministers of Internal Affairs and their respective DG’s. Nevertheless, the buck stops with the PM.

So, Mr. Prime Minister of Vanuatu, whoever you may be, the question is whether or not you will continue the time-honoured tradition established by past PM’s by doing nothing or will you become the FIRST EVER Prime Minister to show that you are a man committed to the people of Vanuatu by doing what you are mandated to do – STOP CORRUPTION?

Where is your civic pride, Mele?

Gone with the wind?

You have just been given a wonderful gift in the form of a new school building and yet, you seem to think it’s okay to throw your rubbish anywhere but where it should be. Instead, you’re disposing of it right where the children like to play and where it confronts everyone as they drive past or into your village!

Although I have been watching the constant dumping of rubbish at the side of the road at Mele Village for years, I can’t hold back my personal disgust at your apparent lack of communal concern and pride in your habitat. Along with the piles of rubbish shown in these pictures is a HUGE pile of rubbish immediately adjacent to the primary school toilet block, one which appears to be steadily growing daily.

Those who maintain that Vanuatu is a beautiful country apparently haven’t seen your latest contribution to tourism development (that’s sarcasm, by the way!)……..

Mele Tourism Attraction

Mele Tourism Attraction

Mele Tourist Attraction

Mele Tourist Attraction

Now would be a good time to start showing some respect for the environment and for the health of the Mele Village residents, especially the children. Instead of giving the impression that you prefer to be living like the pigs who scavenge the rubbish dumps, a lot of able-bodied men in Mele aren’t employed so maybe one solution would be for the chiefs to organize a working bee to clean and tidy up these disgraceful blots on the landscape.

Your pigs might enjoy your rubbish lying around but people don’t!

Corruption - Follow the Money Trail!

It has been said many times that to get to the bottom of corruption, follow the money trail!

That said, it’s high time someone did exactly that in relation to the Great Wall of Mele.

Originally, due to an onslaught of media pressure, the Shefa Provincial Government Council (SPGC) announced that a fine of 500,000 vatu had been imposed upon the builder of this popular tourism spot-destroying development – a proposal for a two-storey hotel/store.

A little while later, the SPGC was found to have reduced the fine from the half a million vatu to a paltry 100,000 vatu. They have stated since that in so doing, they had received a commitment from the developer to (a) demolish the ugly wall that confronts passersby every day and (b) only erect a single-storey building.

What a crock of BS that’s turned out to be! Here are some photos taken a week ago…..

The Great Wall of Mele June 2015 Mele Wall Development - 8 June 2015B Mele Wall Development - 8 June 2015C

The wall is STILL there! Not only that that, it has been extended using piles of solidified, bagged concrete – an absolute eyesore that has killed off one of Port Vila’s most popular tourism stopping points – a place where tourists could admire and take photos of Hideaway Island.

Single-storey? I’m no builder but even Blind Freddie could see that this is turning into a dual or multi-storey development. It’s also quite feasible that it will end up looking as ghastly as this same developer’s Airport Business Hotel eyesore at Tagabe roundabout.

The sand that’s being used for building also appears to be coming from the beach on which it is being built despite recent legislation that forbids the mining of this beach sand for commercial purposes.

Has an EIA been done by a reputable person/entity and made public? If not, why not?

The question is – “WHO has allowed this to happen and just as importantly, WHY?”

The feedback that I have had from a couple of reliable sources is that one or more senior SPGC were in debt to the developer and have quite possibly “done a deal” that favours all parties concerned in allowing this development to continue unimpeded.

Who has the power and/or willingness to investigate this issue?
Anyone?

If only this was true here in Vanuatu……

Chief Justice Lunabek“Dishonesty, incompetence, inefficiency, and any form of unbecoming conduct are impermissible and will not be tolerated in the Judiciary or in the legal profession”
– Chief Justice Lunabek, February 19th 2015

As one who watches the workings of the Courts from time to time, I have come to respect the apparent professional competence and integrity of Chief Justice Lunabek and his Supreme Court colleagues.

Not so when it comes to the operations of the Magistrates’ Court.

I am speaking from personal experience when I say that the Vanuatu Magistrates’ Court is certainly inefficient, extremely incompetent and definitely dysfunctional.

Corrupt as well? The answer to that may be found in one such definition –  “Judicial corruption refers to corruption related misconduct of judges, through receiving or giving bribes, improper sentencing of convicted criminals, bias in the hearing and judgement of arguments and other such misconduct”.

My perception comes from a recent case in which an elderly expat woman was assaulted and abused in her own home without provocation – by a much younger, muscle-bound expat who had first attempted to break into her home with the full knowledge that she was home alone.

It took nine months for the case to be heard in Court. It took a further six months for the Judgement to be handed down by the magistrate concerned and that was only after the intervention of an embassy which pressured the Court for the case to be completed.

The Judgement delivered was not only erroneous in fact: it was also made after the acceptance of evidence from the defendant’s lawyer AFTER the trial, evidence that had NOT been reviewed first by the lady’s lawyers.

The Judgement delivered was so flawed and incomplete, one could be forgiven for thinking that it must have been written as an afterthought on the back of a luncheon serviette and passed to a typist for completion in response to the pressure of people wanting answers.

Justice in Vanuatu? Yeah, right!

Vanuatu Villas - "Belle" and "Chelle"

Many of Vanuatu’s schools were destroyed by #CyclonePam.

One such school was the Melemaat Kindergarten, the local village close to Vanuatu Villas and with which we have had a special relationship for many years.

In addition to the need for the restoration/rebuilding of the Melemaat Primary School that was devastated by the cyclone, funds are also needed to rebuild the kindergarten, a task that is already underway thanks to the efforts of some kiond and generous people here in Vanuatu and overseas. However, more assistance is needed in rebuilding the LIVES of the very young, the future leaders of this small but wonderful nation.

The following link details the support that is required and we urge anyone and everyone reading this to give this initiative the full support that it needs and deserves – http://www.gofundme.com/rm5dbr8.

Rebuilding Melemaat Kindergarten - 15 April 2015 Rebuilding Melemaat Kindergarten – 15 April 2015

Tankyu tumas!

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Could not agree more. A prime example is the kava export industry which, as with other crop-growing industries (copra, cocoa and the like) will suffer from the havoc wreaked by #CyclonePam. This will impact the livelihoods of everyone in that chain – from the farmers to the processors to the exporters themselves. If you’re coming to Vanuatu, remember that even in countries such as Australia, you are able to carry kava back with you on your return. Better still, buy some online now in support of efforts to get Vanuatu’s economy back on track. There are a number of options online for you to purchase Vanuatu kava – just type “Vanuatu Kava” in the search box and go from there. Thanks…

TNC Pacific Consulting

Dr Tess Newton Cain, Founder of the Devpacific Thinknet

I have seen numerous posts on Facebook and elsewhere from groups saying that they are coming to Vanuatu to help with recovery and rebuilding efforts further to the passage of Cyclone Pam. Some are coming with a specific project in mind (e.g. rebuilding a school or hospital) and others are coming in the hope of finding something useful to do on arrival. It is not always clear to what extent these people are making their proposed contributions known to the NDMO whose responsibility it is to ensure that all relief efforts are distributed effectively, transparently and accountably.

Often people ask ‘what should we bring?’ Some feel that they should bring food so as not to be a burden on communities whose gardens have been destroyed or damaged. Well, unless you are coming on a yacht you will be entering the country via…

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Coward Shame

In today’s local daily newspaper, the Daily Post, an ANONYMOUS person from Minister of Tourism, Commerce, Trades and Ni Vanuatu Business had the cheek to call the author of a ‘Letter to the Editor’ a COWARD.

The following response to this apalling turn of events was very well summed up in a post response this morning on Vanuatu’s largest social media site, Yumi Toktok Stret, by a local investor and businessman…. “Who wrote the letter to the DP today that came from the Dept. of Industry and Commerce? It was in response to a letter on Wednesday from an “investor” that said that due to the act a large sandalwood project was no longer going ahead. The letter today from the Dept. of Industry and Commerce called this “investor” a “coward” for not putting their name to the letter, yet the letter was only signed off on by The Dept. of Industry and Commerce with no name attached. If you are gong to call someone a coward for not putting their name to a letter then it stands to reason that you are also one if you didn’t put your name on the response letter and are effectively hiding behind a Govt. Dept.” The article in which the long-term investor was referred to as a coward was also full of rhetoric about the purported benefits of the Industrial Development Act with heavy emphasis on “a policy regime to discourage live cattle exports”. Additionally, the Ministry’s ANONYMOUS WRITER went to great lengths to try and justify the introduction of the Act. Well try and justify away my friend because as far as Vanuatu businesses are concerned, this Act is a joke – or at least it would be were it not for the fact that its mere existence stands to threaten the livelihood af many already-struggling families and businesses. You can read more about how the iniquitous Act came into being at Vanuatu Spy Tells All. Respect - You Have to Earn It!It’s high time that more Government Ministers, politicians and public servants learned to RESPECT their employers – the Citizens of Vanuatu. As a side note, the Ministry from which today’s COWARDLY letter came, has as its Minister the same person who, without proper consultation with the public, back door-entered Vanuatu into the WTO (World Trade Organization) in 2011. Didn’t have the respect for the people nor the guts to try and get approval of the general populace first and when asked at the time by the media (17/8/2011 – Radio Australia Pacific News/PACNEWS) what benefits were to be had by Vanuatu in its proposed assecion to the WTO, he failed dismally in his responses. One does wonder therefore at what hidden agendas may have been held by the Minister concerned at the time? Hiding behind Mama Government's SkirtsBOTTOM LINE, Mr. ANONYMOUS WRITER, time for you to stop hiding behind Mama Government’s skirts. Reveal yourself or remain a COWARD! Over to you, whoever you are…….

Being an anti-corruption advocate isn’t always an existence of dealing with negative issues, thankfully.

Many of you will gather by now that I am a youth at heart and firmly believe in the capacity of Vanuatu’s youth to change this wonderful country – for the better. Sometimes, all it takes to change things is to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself and then – DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

This brief story is about one man who did exactly that and in so doing, unified his whole village.

Robson Rangiman of Melemaat Village, Efate, Vanuatu

In early January this year, local Melemaat villager, Robson Rangiman met the famous Melbourne-based artist, Rone (http://r-o-n-e.com/street/), on the road near the Mele cemetery and struck up a conversation with him. During that same conversation, Rone told Robson that he was looking for a building on which to paint a nice picture and in particular, one that featured the face of a local girl or woman.

Robson then seized the opportunity to show the artist the building that is used as a meeting hall by the people in his village and this is how it looked at the time…

Melemaat Meeting Hall - December 2014

Robson then organized a swathe of photos from his fellow villagers for Rone to select a “model” from. What happened next was the creation of an extraordinarily beautiful piece of “street art” featuring the face of a young woman villager – Joanne.

Mele Maat Village Hall Painting (Joanne)

Joanne closeup2Look at those eyes! Aren’t they something else?

Since this painting was done, the whole village has ‘adopted’ this artwork, claiming it as their own very special Ni-Vanuatu legacy, to the point where some of the folk have been seen to openly weep with joy at sighting the beauty of it all. There now stands in this village something that everyone is proud of and united in their joy at having.

So there you have it. One person CAN make a difference. Hats off to Robson Rangiman for his initiative.

The moral of this story is – “What can YOU do to make a difference within your community?”

“CARPE DIEM!”

(Seize the day!)

 

 

 

 

Vanuatu Spy Tells All

The transcript of a secret recording of a recent meeting held behind closed doors within the halls of power has come into our possession.

We cannot reveal the details of our source but we have absolutely no doubt as to its authenticity. The recording has been vetted and analysed in high-security laboratories using the latest spy-ware technology including V.O.I.C.E technology (Vocal Origin Identification Cryptology Enhancement). Accordingly, the meeting’s members have been clearly identified and subsequently exposed here and now for their duplicity in a plot to crash the economy of a sovereign nation – Vanuatu. You will be shocked no doubt at the sheer audacity of these people as they scheme and plan what could prove to be the downfall of this small nation’s aspirations in becoming an economically self-sufficient entity on the world stage, free from the “big brothers” who would otherwise have them enslaved for all time. Here is the transcript of that meeting:

IAMA MORON: “Gentlemen, this meeting has been called to address a very serious situation within our local economy. Our research shows that too many businesses and individuals in Vanuatu are profitable or on the verge of being so and subsequently reducing the dependence of the nation on hand-outs from this country’s Aid Donors”.

HEESA MORON: “Hear, hear!”

IAMA MORON: “What is most disturbing about this development is that it stands to limit our own capacity to dip into this free pot of gold which means all of us here today stand to lose opportunities to increase our own personal wealth!”

HEESA MORON: “I agree!”

WOTTA MORON: “That’s outrageous! I’m planning to buy each of my kids a brand new Hilux in the New Year and what about my trip to Switzerland to meet with my bankers? We have to put a stop to this – now!”

HEESA MORON: “I agree!”

EMPEE MORON: “Gentlemen, gentlemen. Don’t worry. I think I have the perfect solution to this vexing issue that faces us. After all, remember why you rigged the ballots in the first place – so that I could help look after you, my friends. By the way, a big “Thank you” to you all for making sure that I got the land I desperately needed for my holiday home on Santo even though at four hectares it’s a bit smaller than what I wanted”

EESA MORON: “You’re welcome, Empee”

IAMA MORON: “So what’s this cunning plan you’ve come up with, Empee?”

WOTTA MORON: “Yeah, what’s the plan, Big Man?”

EMPEE MORON: “Well, as you all know, my brother’s cousin, Al Waysa Moron, is the Minister for Industry. Oh yes, he also sends his regards to you all for crossing the floor with him so that he could get this particular portfolio when it looked like it would go to Agud Bloak”.

HEESA MORON: “He’s welcome!”

EMPEE MORON: “Thank you. Anyway, I have already spoken with Al Waysa and he agrees that we should do something to stop this situation before it gets out of hand. So, here’s what we do. We create a situation whereby as many businesses as possible have to get a Permit to operate. We then make the application process as difficult as possible – I’m thinking of an Application that will take a couple of days to prepare and run to say 14 pages or so. Each business is then obliged to collect their form from Al Waysa’s Department. What we’ll do is tell the businesses of our plans on the Monday before Christmas and require them to have everything in place by the day after New Year’s Day”.

WOTTA MORON: “Yes! So far so good but I feel that something’s missing here, like – how do we benefit from this?”

HEESA MORON: “I agree!

EMPEE MORON: “Wait small – there’s more. We focus on the export companies and individuals by requiring them to pay Export Levies and we give my brother’s cousin the authority to charge these guys up to 40% – at his discretion. If they don’t like it, then too bad for them. If they don’t comply, we’ll fine them anything up to a million vatu and put them in jail for up to 12 months. See how they go trying to operate a business then! You can then lodge your own claims for a share of the levies via a Consultancy Fee from one of your family members’ Permit-exempt companies”.

HEESA MORON: “Hear, hear!”

IAMA MORON: “Not bad at all, Empee but I still think there’s something else we can do, don’t you?”

HEESA MORON: “I agree!”

EMPEE MORON: “Here’s the cruncher. We set the rules for these businesses every year which is when they must renew their Permits. If they don’t comply, again – too bad as we’ll make sure that they have no right of appeal and if they make too much noise or trouble, we’ll fine their asses, put ’em in jail and close up their businesses. So my friends, what do you say?”

HEESA MORON: “I agree!”

IAMA MORON: “Me too”

WOTTA MORON: “Me as well”

EMPEE MORON: “One final thing. We need a good, positive-sounding name for this process. I suggest we call it the “Industry Development Act“.

This is followed by hoots of laughter and a chorus of “I agree”, “Me too”, “Bravo”, “Well done” and finally – “Who’s up for a shell?”

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!”