Posts Tagged ‘bribery’

PM Sato Kilman, Deputy PM Moana Carcasses, MP Marcelino Pipite

PM Sato Kilman, Deputy PM Moana Carcasses, MP Marcelino Pipite

On behalf of myself, my family, business colleagues and associates and many, many friends both here in Vanuatu and overseas, we wish to express our heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude for showing us the way to a better and more prosperous future for the sovereign nation of Vanuatu.

By way of the example set by yourselves, it is quite clear that the way forward for Vanuatu will be in the hands of true leaders, leaders who will be men and women with a history of and committed to the ideals of:

Respect for their Office

Respect for the people of Vanuatu

Accountability

Integrity

Honesty

Transparency

Fidelity

Compassion for their fellow man

Genuine desire to improve the nation’s socio-economic development

Cultural preservation

…. all without aforethought for their own self-interests.

What a crying shame that you, along with the other MP’s recently convicted of Bribery, have displayed NONE of these fine leadership qualities whilst in power! Instead you have failed the people you are meant to serve – the people of Vanuatu!

Still, we are immensely grateful that you have finally given us the motivation and clarity of vision to change the way forward for the betterment of Vanuatu society.

Our opportunites to start effecting such changes begin tomorrow with the Port Vila by-election.

For helping the nation of Vanuatu begin a new era of propriety in leadership. . . .

Mifala tankyu tumas!

 . . . . because they didn’t have any to begin with!

True Leadership is built on integrityBefore proceeding any further with this commentary, we should all be clear on one thing: in Vanuatu’s political arena, public service, police force, judiciary and government-controlled institutions, there ARE men and women who are true to their station – men and women who are diligent, hard-working, honest and honourable but who face huge obstacles every day in the guise of “leaders” who are bent, crooked, corrupt. In the not-too-distant future, I intend to write an “expose” of some of those GOOD CITIZENS who deserve recognition for their positive contribution to this country but for now, onto the subject at hand – INTEGRITY (or lack thereof on the part of our current leaders).

As a long-standing member of the Vanuatu community, it pains me to see the continual abasement of Melanesian values and common human decency by those in positions of power. These parasites revel in the fact they are very likely to be able to carry out their self-serving, corrupt ways without the fear of being held accountable for their actions.

In keeping with the above statement, if you haven’t read it already, I recommend that you grab a copy of this weekend’s Vanuatu Independent newspaper as there are three articles/comments in it worthy of noting.

The first is an article headed “MoE warns schools to effectively manage water”. Sure, it does contain some good advice on the subject. However, what really galls me is the statement attributed to the MoE (Ministry of Education) – “The ministry wants schools to continue with their operations and students to continue to attend school”. Assuming this comment to be true reporting –  WHAT A LOAD OF CLAPTRAP this is!

Schools are being closed; students are being denied the right to attend school because the present government has failed them, betrayed the present generation of youths whose parents wish them to have an education. The government has been mandated to pay the school fees for those students whose parents haven’t been able to meet the fees due to the effects of Cyclone Pam on their income. Here on Efate, this especially applies to the Northern region of the island where the majority of parents rely on subsistence farming, to grow crops that can be sold to provide food, water and other life essentials mandatory for their survival. They now have the added impost of the El Nino weather pattern disrupting their efforts even further.

Anti-Corruption - EducationIt is also true to say that the present government has proven its incompetence and corruption in its handling of aid and assistance to the Vanuatu community since the March cyclone. What has this government done to assist the schools hardest hit by the cyclone? As far as I can determine – ABSOLUTELY BLOODY NOTHING! It has taken the likes of the ex-pat community and their friends and compratriots, as highlighted by the Editor of The Vanuatu Independent, Tony Wilson in his column, “Wilson’s Word” to get behind the re-building of those schools affected. You only have to look at the awe-inspiring work undertaken over these past few months by the Ratua Foundation, the SHaRM Pikinin Ecole Foundation, Volunteer Vanuatu, Bluescope, Mele Beach Bar plus many, many caring individuals from Vanuatu and overseas (too many to cite here) to see evidence of their contribution to the restitution of our education facilities.

In the same paper, Evelyne Toa’s article – “Abuse of position goes on and on” makes for excellent reading as she analyses the actions of today’s leaders, in particular their corruption and abuse of power, a situation that we, the people of Vanuatu, have been tolerating for way too long.

One of the major and righteous questions being asked in the media is “What has happened to all the Aid money given to the government?” We know that some of it has been used to buy new cars for Ministers, fund overseas junkets and the like but where has this money been used for the benefit of the people of Vanuatu? Hello . . .is there anyone out there in government who can or will tell us?

Dear reader, you are no doubt familiar with the adage of “when a fish stinks, it does so from the head down”

A fish stinks from the head first

Well so it is with the present Vanuatu government leaders.

PM Sato Kilman has surrounded himself with experts, experts in the art of graft, corruption, fraud, bribery and self-serving dishonesty. Fifteen, yes FIFTEEN of his MP’s are currently facing charges of bribery and breaches of the Leadership Code. They face judgement this coming Friday, 9th October when the presiding judge, Justice Mary Sey hands down her verdict.

Notwithstanding the eventual determination of the Supreme Court in this instance, there is no denying the fact that many of these same MP’s are a blight on our community and chief contributors to Vanuatu becoming a laughing stock on the international stage. A few prime examples . . . .

Marcellino Pipite. One of the self-determined “big men”, this MP keeps showing his true colours in his contempt for the system. Not a stranger to upholding his belief in his own self-importance (see a previous article – “The Minister of Chickens”), his contemptuous attitude is well-evidenced in his recent spending on a junket to the U.S. – eight million vatu from the public purse – 8,000,000 vatu of YOUR MONEY! Imagine how far that money would have gone to alleviating the pain of those whose children can’t attend school because the government won’t meet its obligations in this regard.

Paul Telukluk. Another MP who is well-practised in the art of rorting the system and practising fraud and deception, especially when it comes to his largesse to his family and cronies whilst at the helm of the Lands Department in his capacity as Minister of Lands. This is the same person who was once cited by a previous Ombudsman and quoted in www.paclii.org as having . . . BREACHED EACH AND EVERY SECTION OF THE LEADERSHIP CODE IN THE CONSTITUTION: CONFLICT OF INTEREST, UNFAIR EXERCISE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES, DEMEANING POSITION, LACK OF INTEGRITY, USE OF OFFICE FOR PERSONAL GAIN.” 

Steven Kalsakau. This particular person, also one of Sato Kilman’s close cronies, also has a long history of rorting the system for his own personal benefit whilst holding the much-sought-after-by-crooks position of Minister of Lands. (By the way, in support of this notion, it’s worth noting that PM Kilman has re-appointed Paul Telukluk to this very same position in spite of his crooked and shameful history in a similar capacity and in spite of MP Ralph Regenvanu’s honest attempts at restoring faith in the Department of Lands). Back to MP Kalsakau . . . his questionable actions have been reported extensively in the Vanuatu Daily Post and other media, including internationally. I have also previously touched on this aspect of his not-so-illustrious career in my article – “Public Enemy #1 – The Truth”. To gain an even better insight into his rorts and the like, it’s also worth havinga look at some of the articles in the Vanuatu Daily Digest. But once again, PM Kilman has looked after his mate Kalsakau by appointing him to the position of Parliamentary Secretary with all its extra power and financial benefits and without advertising the position or consulting anyone. It’s called “jobs for the boys”!

The bottom line? 

The fetid stink of corruption that pervades the Vanuatu Parliament halls of power must be eliminated. Fortunately, there are ways that this can be achieved.

First up, it is up to YOU, the people of Vanuatu, to support the honest, honourable and decent men and women in our community in their quest for change for a better society, one that doesn’t just favour the crook and thieves who would call themselves “leaders” but rather those who, by their actions, have proven themselves to be people of INTEGRITY and who genuinely care about the welfare and the economic and social well-being of Vanuatu.

UNODC - National_Anti-Corruption_Strategies_-_A_Practical_Guide_for_Development_and_ImplementationSecondly, have your own close-to-home community contact and question the Member of Parliament who is meant to represent YOUR interests in running the country. Find out their level of commitment, or otherwise, to having the government institute the necessary legislation and processes to conform to its UNCAC (United Nations Convention Against Corruption) obligations in establishing an independent, government-funded Anti-Corruption Agency that has full investigative and prosecution powers – similar to that of the Fiji and Hong Kong ICAC’s (Independent Commission Against Corruption).

Finally, at the next elections, VOTE WITH YOUR HEAD. Vote for those men and women of ACTION instead of those who would continue to attempt to dazzle you with words of false promises.

The FOUNDATION OF LEADERSHIP IS INTEGRITY!

 

Vanuatu’s economy will not recover. It is in crisis mode.

faltering economyStrong words, I know but the reality is that Vanuatu is rapidly sinking into a financial abyss from which there is no palpable return in sight, UNLESS…..

There is a fundamental shift in a number of areas that affect the economy. They include:

  • The present mismanagement of the economy by the RBV (Reserve Bank of Vanuatu);
  • The Government’s political instability;
  • Corruption within the political, public service bureaucracy, police force and judiciary.

At first glance, this may appear to be an over-simplification of the problems that cause Vanuatu’s economy to be at the mercy of the rest of the world. Perhaps it is, however, please take a minute to consider the following…..

The GFC (Global Financial Crisis) commenced exactly seven years ago and it’s getting worse by the minute! Some pundits, especially those aligned with the banking sector, the politicians, the Central Banks and the “too-big-to-fail” corporations will have you believe that the GFC ended some time ago. What a load of clap-trap!

The Central Banks continue to print paper money as fast as they can crank up the presses with every new batch of paper that goes out to the market.

What is the natural offset to paper money….you know…the one that has been used by mankind for thousands of years? GOLD!

How many tonnes of gold does the RBV hold in its Reserves? NONE!

What are the two strongest currencies in the world today? The USD (United States Dollar) and China’s Remimbi/Yuan. The USD is presently considered to be the world’s Reserve Currency, a position held since the second world war when it took over from the British Pound Sterling after the introduction of the Bretton Woods System.

However, the Chinese Yuan is set to replace the USD as the official Reserve Currency and WHEN it happens, the value of the USD will depreciate markedly as will those currencies that are pegged to it. Here in Vanuatu, unless someone from the RBV can show otherwise, it appears that the Remimbi/Yuan plays no part in the RBV’s economic considerations. As with its attitude towards gold, the RBV’s overall economic policies appear to totally ignore the potential consequences of not including China’s currency in its “basket” of currencies in which it trades.

copra exports Export earnersTourism along with fishing, offshore financial service, growth export commodities such as copra and kava are essential to Vanuatu’s economic growth prospects. As it happens, the present “value” of the Vatu against other currencies is way too high. It is artificially inflated at unsustainable levels thereby having a disastrous effect upon export income.

UNLESS Vanuatu takes a leaf out of Fiji’s book of economics and devalues its currency, soon, then many more Vanuatu-based businesses will go under….bankrupted by the lack of willingness on the part of investors to place their funds in this country, by a continued fall in long-stay tourism (we can’t compete against countries such as Fiji, Bali and the S.E. Asian countries – Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand). My personal view is that an immediate devaluation of 15-25% of the Vatu against the world’s MAJOR currencies (USD, Euro, GBP, Remimbi and yes – the AUD) should be effected as soon as possible.

Oh, I can hear the cries now of “but food prices will go up too much” and “we rely on our imports” and “we won’t be able to afford to travel”. Such viewpoints are short-sighted and ill-informed within the context of what will make for a healthier economy for Vanuatu. Perhaps the Vanuatu Government/RBV should place more emphasis and focus on developing the traditional economy as well as taking the other measures already mentioned here.

The new coinage issue. Unnecessary and a total waste of money, money that I’m sure could haver been better used elsewhere.

By the way, it’s time the RBV stepped into the real world of the 21st century IT-wise. It’s web site is abysmal, severely lacking in any form of reliable, topical data and information. Time to get up to speed with the rest of the world, guys!

UNLESS Vanuatu’s political leaders have a change of attitude to their appointments, their infernal internal squabbling will continue to adversely affect the country’s finances.

Political upheaval and instability has cost the country dearly over the past two decades and particularly over the past five years. Every time there is another Motion of No Confidence put into play, it costs the country – big time. Instead of running the country as they are supposed to, too many MP’s spend their time running around shoring up their defences and/or soliciting help in overthrowing the government of the day so that they can dip their own snouts in the trough.

The amount of money lost when portfolios change I imagine to be huge. In most cases, the incoming Minister scraps any new initiatives made by his predecessor, whether warranted or otherwise. Political appointees are dismissed requiring them to be paid out and the list of unnecessary wastage goes on…….

The biggest of them all – CORRUPTION!

Corruption - The Silent Serial Killer

A lot of press coverage over the past few days has been given to the alleged corruptive practices of the 15 MP’s presently on trial for Bribery and breaches of the Leadership Code.

Let’s be serious folks – CORRUPTION is Public Enemy Number One when it comes to Vanuatu’s floundering economic health. It’s practised everywhere – by politicians and their advisors and appointees, by senior bureaucrats in the public service, by police and by members of the judiciary. In turn, the evil of corruption creates a level of gross incompetence within these same sectors. Too many “jobs for the boys” (cronyism); too much nepotism; too much fraud, bribery and theft; too many self-serving power plays and so on.

UNLESS the government gets serious about eradicating the problem of corruption, Vanuatu will continue to muddle around in the economic back-waters of the world.

What the Government MUST DO, NOT SHOULD DO, is to implement its commitment to UNCAC (United Nations Convention Against Corruption), a commitment that has been sitting in the waiting room for the past four years. It must legislate for the creation of an independent, government-funded anti-corruption agency….NOW! No ifs, buts or maybes – it must do it NOW! This would prove to be a huge step in the process of eliminating corruption in Vanuatu.

QUESTION: I wonder how many MP’s would be prepared to sign a Statutory Declaration in support of the policy formation and legislation for such an agency, especially if the same Statutory Declaration meant they had to commit themselves to resigning from office should they fail to support such an initiative? None? A handful?

I just hope that the present bribery case will prove to be the catalyst for a change in attitude by the relevant leaders of this country. The time is right. Is the political willpower there. We shall see.

Say No to Australian CorruptionAustralia-wide censorship order for corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam

This is corruption of the highest order in what is often referred to as the “Lucky Country”…..lucky if its citizens don’t find out what its leaders are doing, that is!

WikiLeaks released a damning report two days ago that should be read by everyone, especially Australian citizens. Read it here –

https://wikileaks.org/aus-suppression-order/WikiLeaks-Australian-suppression-order.pdf

As an Australian citizen, I am totally disgusted with and ashamed of its leadership. This is NOT what freedom is about!