Posts Tagged ‘cronyism’

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!”

 

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Corruption - The Silent Serial Killer

On every single day of the year someone dies as a result of CORRUPTION!

That’s right – every single day!

Sound far-fetched? Unfortunately, it’s not. Corruption is the direct cause of more human and other animal species deaths than anything that Mother Nature chooses to throw at us, be it fire, extreme heat or cold, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, firestorms, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions or anything else imposed on the Earth’s inhabitants by the elements.

In addition to death, corruption is also responsible for more human misery than disease, famine and pestilence combined.

But corruption doesn’t stop there. This silent serial killer also counts among its victims the environment and particularly favours the oceans and forests and any other would-be pristine place – even the air that you, me, the rest of the world’s population, human and otherwise and all the different plant and aquatic species breathe in and depend upon for their very survival.

WHO is it then that wears the cloak of these man-made tragedies?

Is it you? Maybe; it depends who you the reader are and what your role within your own community happens to be. On one hand, you may not even be aware that you are part of the problem which, in itself is a travesty.

On the other hand, chances are that, if you are corrupt, you are fully aware of the fact and just don’t give a damn! Such an attitude is commonplace among those who are genuinely corrupt – as long as something serves their own self-interests, then the effects upon others of their actions and behaviour mean nothing to them.

So, WHAT is corruption?

Transparency International states that “CORRUPTION is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”.

The World Bank defines it simply as the abuse of public office for private gain”.

You might think that there’s not much margin for error in these two definitions by such high-profile organizations, right?

Wrong! The real truth behind corruption and its survival or should I say exponential growth in this, the real world, is that corruption can and will only be allowed to carry on its dirty work WITH YOUR PERMISSION – tacit or otherwise.

If you turn a blind eye to corrupt practices of any magnitude or adopt an attitude of “I’m only one person and therefore can’t do anything to stop them” and/or “It doesn’t really affect me”, then in effect, you become as equally responsible as the perpetrators themselves for the consequences of such actions by others.

Perhaps you may be thinking at this point – “Well, that’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?” My response to that, very simply, is that perhaps it’s time for you to reach into your own heart and soul and give frank and real consideration to the planet-endemic problem of corruption and in particular, to what measures you can personally take to play your part in not just finding and understanding the solution but to actually being PART of the solution.

With that said, let’s investigate how corruption can affect you.  Putting another slant on it, let’s spend a little time for some selfish introspection, if you will.

For instance, are you a parent to one or more children? Or maybe you’re a devoted grandparent who also cares about the future welfare of these same children.

Imagine the following events then:

Scenario One

Your precious five year-old has a sudden attack of severe diarrhea and vomiting that won’t stop. You take your child to the local hospital for attention only to find out that the hospital has no IV fluid supplies because it has no money to buy them. In a very short space of time, the child, your child dies due to extreme dehydration causing its bodily functions to shut down. The Government official responsible for overseeing the finances of the hospital in the meantime, has fraudulently syphoned off the money and given it to his family, money that would have saved the life of your child. Round One to the silent serial killer due to CORRUPTION in the guise of FRAUD!

Scenario Two

Your sixteen year-old daughter is brutally bashed and raped. You are able to find out immediately who is responsible for this horrendous crime and taking your daughter to the hospital for treatment, you go to the Police to report the incident. The Police then do their duty in taking a statement from you and then from your daughter and promise you that prompt action will be taken to arrest the man. A day or so goes by and you become aware that the man concerned is still around. You then contact the Police again and enquire as to why this is so and following a series of delays, you are told that the file has been lost! You are rightfully angry and demand that action be taken to arrest this person. More days go by until you find out that the perpetrator is a family member of a high-ranking Government official and yes, you guessed it – the man is never charged and the matter subsequently never gets to Court. Your daughter is so emotionally traumatised by the whole incident that she commits suicide a short time later. Round Two to the silent serial killer – CORRUPTION by INJUSTICE!

Scenario Three

On another front – you are looking forward to the arrival of your parents and cousins from your home island as they are coming to help you celebrate your wedding. However, shortly after the ship leaves its port, it sinks with the loss of the lives of everybody on board. It happened because the ship’s Captain had bribed the Port officials to overlook the fact that the vessel carrying your family was not only unseaworthy at the time of leaving but was also grossly overloaded with passengers and cargo thereby making it doubly dangerous for travel. Round Three to the silent serial killer, this time – because of CORRUPTION through BRIBERY!

Scenario Four

In spite of the lack of educational facilities that have been available to you due to mismanagement of the funds that were meant to be allocated to the education  system, you have worked hard for many, many years with your wife’s support that was needed to help raise your family of three kids, your first-born now being sixteen. Just as you have funded your own way through university and now, at thirty five years of age, are the best-qualified person around in your particular chosen vocation, your son has decided to follow in your footsteps by going to university and getting a medical degree. To achieve this, however, he will need your financial support even though he topped his final year at school (his application for a scholarship was unsuccessful due to the fact that it was given to an undeserving child of a Government Minister instead).

To make matters even worse, a well-paid Public Service position becomes available that is perfectly suited to your special skills and qualifications and which, is duly advertised in  the local media. Naturally, you apply for the position but it turns out that the job is eventually given to the unqualified brother-in-law of the Department Head. You then have the unpleasant task of telling your son why you didn’t get the job and that the subsequent result being that you won’t be able send him to university to enable him to achieve his long-held ambition to become a physician. From that point on, your first-born, your pride and joy, becomes not only despondent but also turns to drugs and alcohol for solace and ultimately overdoses on home brew and tragically dies. Round Four to the silent serial killer, CORRUPTION in the form of NEPOTISM!

The above scenarios are just a fleeting sample of the types of corruptive influences that we are confronted with every day, so please don’t take on an attitude of “this can’t happen to me” because of where you live…or don’t!

Yes, I live in Vanuatu where such corruption crimes of this nature abound. However, take a good look around you if you live elsewhere. Look hard enough and you WILL find corruption at work – in the political arena (especially), in the public sector AND  in the private sector as well (with the conscious approval of the powers-that-be within both political circles and government bureaucracy).

On the upside, there is an ever-growing, determined force of individuals (including a small number of politicians and civil servants of integrity) and anti-corruption-specific organizations whose basic attitude is one of “We’ve had enough!” and who are working hard at making the world we live in a better place for everyone – a place where sustainable socio-economic development can take place while also ensuring that  important cultural traditions and the environment are preserved for future generations.

Local-to-Vanuatu NGO’s such as YACV (Youth Against Corruption Vanuatu), WACC (Women Against Crime and Corruption) and the Vanuatu Chapter of Transparency International, to name a few, are all active in the fight against corruption and as such deserve your active, ongoing support.

THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION must involve you as well – it’s in everyone’s interests that you do so…including yours!

Special Note: This article was first published in the Yumi Toktok Stret Newspaper on 24th December, 2014.

Vote of No ConfidenceNO – I am NOT suggesting that the Opposition have another time and money-wasting crack at ousting the incumbent government.

Quite the reverse actually!

Personally, I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE in those politicians who are party jumpers. You know the ones I’m referring to – the men who find themselves in Opposition and spend their time looking for opportunities to switch sides so that they may better their bank accounts and power bases.

I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE in the Opposition Members who can afford double-scotch lunches at the tax-payers’ expense, fly Business Class or First Class whenever travelling and yet can’t find it in themselves to declare what their MP Allocations are spent on.

I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE in those Shefa Provincial Government officers who don’t have the guts to enforce their own rules. Classic example – the “Great Wall of Mele” saga.

I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE in the very same Provincial Government officers who have joyfully announced that people can now buy coffins via the Council……..WHOOPS – who have stated that people must ONLY buy their coffins via the Council. A little more on this particular topic of NO CONFIDENCE, if I may……

The radio announcement that I heard stated that the price of coffins would be 21,000 vatu. Brilliant….except that there is already a vendor in Vila whose starting price for a coffin is 14,000 vatu – two thirds of the Council-quoted price. Hmmmm. Oh, it gets better. The same announcement proclaimed that their price of 21,000 vatu came about after negotiations with a local company – South Pacific Hardware. WHOOPS AGAIN! The owner of South Pacific Hardware is the same as the owner of the “Great Wall of Mele”. Hmmmm! I do wonder how many other companies were asked to tender for the coffin-building plan, hmmmm? And by the way, where the hell is their thinking in their entering into a commercial activity such as this? Their task is to GOVERN, not to interfere/get involved in commercial money-making ventures.

As I know is the feeling of many others living in Vanuatu, I also HAVE NO CONFIDENCE in the politicians who can’t even forget their political differences when they get together to vote on Constitutional matters, in particular, I refer to the recent shameful and disgusting display of politicking that took place during the processes of appointing a new President – a supposedly non-political position  – a position that, all said and done, just required the appointment of a person of integrity who would bring honour to that same position. Fortunately, commonsense, fuelled by an outcry from the public at the monetary wastage being incurred by the warring pollies, eventually won the day with the appointment of a man whom I believe will fulfill the role of President of Vanuatu admirably.

Okay, so I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE in the roles being played by the present Opposition Members and the same sense of NO CONFIDENCE in the integrity of the current Shefa Provincial Government Council membership.

The cure?

First of all, it’s my view that it’s time for the Opposition to start acting like grown-ups, like intelligent beings of integrity and honesty and transparency – in the interests of the nation and its proper governance. As happens in more mature Western-style democracies, MP’s who make up the Opposition in Parliament are given “shadow” portfolios and hence, become the persons responsible for speaking out on issues that are relevant to that portfolio. For example, a Shadow Minister of Health would be the Opposition spokesman in Parliament on health issues. He would be the one to debate matters pertaining to that particular portfolio. The same applies for the other Ministries.

Now of course this means that Shadow Ministers would have to WORK to give themselves the necessary credentials and knowledge in case their party gets into power – a natural progression, if you will into positions for which they have trained and worked at. After all, whether they like it or not, these same men were elected BY THE PUBLIC to Parliament to do a particular job – help run the country in a professional manner while applying all the principles of good governance – fidelity, accountability, integrity, transparency and honesty. If any of them aren’t willing or capable of doing their job, then the public must FIRE THEM!

As for the Shefa Council, I believe that an investigation needs to be made into its overall running, into the Great Wall of Mele problem and into the coffin-making business and the processes thereto they have entered into.

By the time the next elections come around, I fully expect to have gained Vanuatu Citizenship and I shall take great pleasure in casting my VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE then. Hopefully, every other free-thinking person who cares about Vanuatu and its future will do likewise.

 

 

 

 Here we go again – another round of stupidity, greed and self-interest in play.

The Opposition is seeking a court order in what is said to be a Constitutional Case – the Speaker’s declaration of invalidity of the Opposition’s Motion of No Confidence in the Natuman Government. Radio Vanuatu announced in its Lunchtime News today that the motion deposited last Friday was to be the subject of such a case but no date for a court hearing was available. (Source – Vanuatu Daily Digest).

Political Clowns on Merry-Go-RoundIt will no doubt be said by some that my take on this is disrespectful. So be it but I ask this…

Disrespectful to whom?

  • To the long-suffering people of Vanuatu who see THEIR money being squandered in the interests of obtaining power at any cost and well, let’s face it – SELF INTEREST?
  • To those politicians who are doing the right thing in working for those who voted them into power?
  • To those very same politicians who are also working in the interests of all the people of Vanuatu rather than their own hip pockets?
  • To the people of Vanuatu who cannot get access to a decent health system or a viable justice system or education opportunities for their children because there’s no money left in the Government coffers as a result of politicians wasting funds made available to them?
  • To the economic benefit of Vanuatu when potential investors shy away from investing in this country because of the perceived and real political instability in the country?
  • To the business operators, Ni-Vanuatu and expatriates alike, who find it increasingly difficult to carry on business profitably in a climate of broken political promises, nepotism and cronyism?
  • To those who believe in the merits of Fidelity, Accountability, Integrity, Transparency and Honesty and as such expect the same from their elected Parliamentary Representatives?

 Of course not!

But then again, it is well nigh impossible to hold any RESPECT for the merry-go-round pollies who seemingly don’t give a damn.

In July, I praised the Hon. PM Joe Natuman for his stance on disloyal MP’s (read my “A Breath of Fresh Air” post). I would like to think that he has the strength to continue along the same lines. It is called “Leadership” – something sadly lacking in this country!

Blind Freddie Award

Nominations are now open for our inaugural “BLIND FREDDIE AWARD”

We think it’s appropriate to add a bit of light-hearted spice to a serious topic currently in the news – CORRUPTION in POLITICS, Political Parties, Politicians, Political Supporters and Political Commentators (the latter including all news and social media contributors).

So – “where does the term “Blind Freddie” come from”, you may well ask.

There are a number of theories on this but the general consensus of opinion is that it came about in the early 1900’s, based on a real-life character – a hawker in Sydney, Australia.

The commonly-accepted use of “Blind Freddie” is for an imaginary person supposed to have little or no perception and representing the highest degree of incompetence, especially in the phrase – “Blind Freddie could see that!”

For a “Blind Freddie Award” nomination to be accepted by the Adjudicator (us!), the potential Awardee must be shown to either….

Be blissfully unaware of the meaning of and/or be a supporter of and/or be knowingly involved in Corruption/Corruptive Practices including any of the following:

  • Nepotism
  • Cronyism
  • Lack of Integrity
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Behaviour Demeaning his/her Office or Position
  • Leadership Code Breach
  • Unethical Behaviour

To get the ball rolling, we have already included some potential Award “Winners”.

The eventual Winners will be announced on 1st May, 2014.

This is a plea to the Hon. PM. Moana Carcassesfor the welfare of all who live in and/or love Vanuatu.

It is also a plea in the interests of:

  • Good Governance
  • Leadership Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Accountability and
  • Justice

Paul Telukluk - Minister of Internal AffairsI am referring to the easily-recognizable politically-expedient appointment of Paul Barthemely Telukluk as the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Please note that I have not and shall not refer to this person as Honourable as only persons deserving of this title should be referred to as such and humbly suggest that the following supports this…..

FACTS and BACKGROUND

As quoted by the Vanuatu Government website –

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs responsible for implementation of the major and most essential policies relating to the internal administration of the entire nation. This Ministry is a crucial department as it services the entire population starts from Torba in the far north to Tafea Province in the far south that needs to be implemented by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Nine departments are under the authority of the Ministry in ensuring that the following policies are implemented in terms of decentralisation, internal security and border control management and the national services. The nine departments Corporate Services Division (CSD), Department of Local Authorities (DLA), National Disaster Management (NDMO), Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), Department of Immigration, Department of Labour and Employment Services (DoL), Electoral Office, Passport Office and Civil Status.

The Ministry is also responsible for some constitutional and statuary bodies like the Electoral Commission, Minimum Wages Board, Labour Advisory Board, National Housing Corporation, National Cultural, Provincial Councils and Municipal Councils.”

Bearing this in mind, it can be reasonably argued that this Ministry is THE most important in the land. And yet…….here’s just a little history and expose of the person now in charge of such an important post…….

“In the mid-1990s, Telukluk served as Minister for Lands in Prime Minister Maxime Carlot Korman‘s government. Later, he was investigated by the Ombudsman‘s office, which in 1999 published a report accusing him of having mismanaged the sale of deportees’ properties. The report recommended that Telukluk “should not be considered for a ministerial portfolio in any future Government” (Wikipedia);

“OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN

PUBLIC REPORT ON THE GRANTING OF LEASES BY THE FORMER MINISTER OF LANDS MR PAUL BARTHELEMY TELUKLUK TO HIMSELF, FAMILY MEMBERS AND WANTOKS

PREAMBLE

This yet again we are confronted by evidence of leaders conspiring to defraud not only private individuals but the public by carefully plotting to increase their own personal wealth and assets by systematically pursuing dishonest courses of action and by misusing their public official positions to break the law, enrich themselves and to defraud others of their rights.

SUMMARY

Public Report is about how 15 land titles were improperly allocated by the Former Minister of Lands and now Minister of Ni-Vanuatu Business Mr. Paul Barthelemy Telukluk to himself, Members of his Family and wantoks (people of his island community). This report highlights the need for a proper policy governing the lease of Government Lands and Customary lands to ensure that they are done according to constitutional rights and Leadership Code obligations, and that actual market values are used.

The Ombudsman decided to investigate into this distribution of titles following several complaints lodged by members of the public. These complainants, having been allocated a block of land by the Department of Lands, had seen their land then given by Minister of Land Telukluk to members of his family or wantoks before the full process was finalised.

As Minister of Lands between 1992 and 1996, Mr. Telukluk had the legal power to sign land leases on behalf of the government, for public lands and lands under the management or control of the government. This also gave Mr. Telukluk the ultimate power to approve or determine the premium charged for leases.

During his term, Mr. Telukluk assigned 15 titles to himself, members of his family and wantoks.

The Ombudsman found that Mr. Telukluk’s conduct was unjust and contrary to Art. 5(1)(k) of the Constitution, because he gave himself and people close to him preferential treatment to obtain leases at cheap prices; other people of Vanuatu were not treated equally. With respect to 4 titles acquired for himself for free, the Ombudsman found this conduct to be misappropriation. The Ombudsman also found that Mr. Telukluk breached each and every section of the Leadership Code in the Constitution.

MR TELUKLUK’S USE OF HIS MINISTERIAL POWER TO GRANT LEASES TO HIMSELF, HIS FAMILY MEMBERS AND WANTOKS WAS ALSO CONTRARY TO ARTICLE 5 OF THE CONSTITUTION.

MR TELUKLUK 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.” (www.paclii.org)

There are many, many more references to Paul Telukluk’s immoral and crooked dealings – way too many to cover here. And yet again….

He has now appointed a CONVICTED FRAUDSTER in the form of CLARENCE MARAE as his First Political Advisor (PA) and secondly, Wendy Myriam-Himford as another PA – a woman well-known as a religious zealot and self-appointed Apostle who once accused Hon. MP Ralph Regenvanu’s Graon Mo Jastis Pati as the “Satanik Pati”.

To all the Citizens and Residents of Vanuatu and those who have their cultural roots in this country – “Do you trust such a person to hold such an important position in the running of this wonderful nation?”

I certainly don’t and as such implore our Honourable Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, to do the right thing and change this situation – before it’s too late.

FOOTNOTE: Telukluk was a co-founder of the Green Federation in 2000.

Vanuatu Government

Vanuatu Government

Shefa Provincial CouncilPort Vila Municipal Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanuatu has been in a crisis for the past twenty years – a leadership crisis.

Respect - You Have to Earn It!The following just-published article by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy is worthy of some reflection on this issue.

“Vanuatu’s Leadership Struggle”

Whether you personally are motivated to do something, well…..that’s entirely up to you. I hope you are!

The following article was first published 25th August, 2012 with the heading – “RESPECT – A “Little” Victory Over a “Big Man” . I have decided to re-publish it here and now as memories are short, especially in the world of politics and the guts of the article I believe to be as relevant, if not even more so than when first published……..

VictoryOnce upon a time, there was a self-proclaimed “Big Man” who thought he could lord it over all and sundry – until he faced the power of some “little people”.

The little story I am about to tell you is “GOLD” and is the absolute truth……..and it’s about a “Big Man” getting his come-uppance………..at grass- roots level. It gave me the chuckles and I hope it does the same for you…..

There’s a little airport (Ulie) near a little place (Sameo) on a little island (Ambrym) in a little Archipelago of 83 islands called Vanuatu a few hours from places like Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.

In fact, this little place attracts tourists from all around the world. Why? Because it usually means the end of an adventure for those same tourists – walking across the island onto and in some cases, into, active volcanos (Marum and Benbow). That is one Hell of a walk/ journey. Even for the fittest, It is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging…..in a big way, so I am told.

A very recent article in “The Independent” quoted – “…the Minister of Education was stranded in the island of Embrym (their spelling mistake, not mine) because he has finished his travelling budget”.

Now let me tell you the truth…..

Earlier this week, a group of international tourists who had pre-booked their flight back to Port Vila Bauerfield Airport, were in the process of boarding when along came a “Big Man” – the Vanuatu Government Education Minister. He insisted that he and his entourage which, included two heavily bejewelled women, a couple of minders and two chickens (?), be given priority passenger rights ahead of the tourists. Apparently, offered up were such options as leaving some behind to catch a later plane or leaving the tourists’ luggage behind to compensate for the weight of the Minister and hangers-on. And then the fight started……….

The tourists (including people in their 60’s) rightfully insisted that they as they had pre-
booked their flight arrange- ments and the Minister only had an open ticket, they should have priority. The Minister thought otherwise and put all sorts of pressure on Air Vanuatu staff and others in an effort to get his way.

End result? The tourists had their way, the Air Vanuatu staff and others who stood up to the Minister’s unsavoury bullying tactics also had a moral victory and the foolish Minister lost…..got his come-uppance!

The moral to this little story is that this was a BIG win by grass-roots people and is a great example of how the “little” people can be BIG champions of decency, common courtesy and most of all – RESPECT.

As you all know, this is just one example of “Big Man” attitude that still prevails in this country as well as in my birthplace (OZ) and other countries.

Hopefully, some of the Vanuatu “Big Men” will read this, reason being that they may choose to follow a BIG piece of advice and go about learning the meaning of the word – “RESPECT” because they sure as hell give the impression that they sorely need some education on the subject.

RespectIf you aren’t a “Big Man”, then frankly, it’s up to you to ensure that they “get the message”, sooner rather than later. So what is “respect”? To quote Wikipedia (any highlights are mine)………

“Respect” gives a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect. Rude conduct is usually considered to indicate a lack of respect, disrespect, whereas actions that honour somebody or something indicate respect. Specific ethics of respect are of fundamental importance to various cultures. Respect for tradition and legitimate authority is identified……as one of five fundamental moral
values shared to a greater or lesser degree by different societies and individuals. In recent times, ‘respect’ has become synonymous with subordination, submission, or obedience”.

The antonym and opposite of respect is CONTEMPT.

Got that? Let’s return for a moment to the Minister of Chickens and others of his ilk, such as the Minister who thinks that he is so important and deserving of “respect” that, with total impunity, he can beat up people whose opinions he doesn’t like and threaten others with violence (such as throwing them out the window) and getting drunk and aggressive in public. Then of course there are the other Ministers who also love being passengers on the gravy train and who also show their outright CONTEMPT for the “little” people and DISRESPECT for the positions of authority that they hold by ripping off the system via providing “jobs for the boys”, dodgy (read – ‘dishonest’) land deals and so on it goes.

At the time that this goes to print, it will only be 66 days to 30th October.

Folks, I ask that you please remember the actions of the “Big Men” at election time. No matter where you live, get rid of any whose traits are to be disrespectful, contemptuous, self-serving, full-of-themselves antithesis of “servants of the people” – as soon as you can.

It’s not that hard! There are some truly honourable, decent men and women waiting in the wings, ready, willing and able to do their bit – for Vanuatu, not for what they can do for themselves in keeping their position at the trough. Pigs at the Trough

May I also humbly suggest that, when you get to cast your vote in a little over nine weeks’ time, you give serious attention to looking at the records of the established parties and their parliamentary representatives.

I have done just that and I must say that every one of them has “come up short”, for one reason or another. Every Party has had and in many instances, still has, people totally undeserving of the “little” peoples’ vote come October. I am referring to the constant “ship-jumpers” and those who speak with forked tongues – the crooks.

SOCIAL MEDIA is, I believe and hopefully not just wishful thinking on my part, likely to have a BIG effect in the forth- coming elections – here in Vanuatu, Australia and the US.

Political DinosaursThose “dinosaurs” who under- estimate its power are doomed to fail – to be replaced by more contemporary-thinking, well- educated, articulate and intelligent people.

It really pleases me to see the high level of activity on social media sites such as Facebook.

 

Youth Against Corruption VanuatuI say this because the posts on sites such as “YACV” (Youth Against Corruption Vanuatu), “YUMI TOKTOK STRET”, “ME HAREM SE ???”, “ELECTION SPOTLIGHT 2012” and “PACIFIC INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC POLICY” are great show-cases displaying the full depth of feeling on issues such as corruption and transparency. It’s terrific to see and be able to enjoy the repartee between serious participants, their impassioned arguments cum discussions about current affairs.

As a constant watcher and user of social media, it’s interesting to note that only one political Party has bothered to keep up with the times – the GRAON mo JASTIS PATI, headed up by the Hon. MP Ralph Regenvanu.

At this point, I need to make something perfectly clear before going any further. I am NOT, I repeat – NOT making a “political statement” NOR attempting to “influence politics” in this country NOR wishing to appear to be recommending any one Party versus another.

However, the very fact that the GJP has its own website is worth noting because as far as I am aware (and I am prepared to stand corrected!), it is the only Party that has one as pro- active, as informative and as transparent (there’s a first for Vanuatu for a start!). Good grief, they even publicize, on their front page, what activities they have been involved in and wait for it – how they have been spending their Ministerial Allocations (tax-payer monies)!

Come to think of it, I cannot recall seeing ANY other website
for any other Vanuatu-based political party! Sacre Bleu!

But “what the heck has this got to do with money?” you may well ask. Well, in a way, it has to do with RESPECT.

If we are to have true LEADERS, then we must ensure that those designate will need to show RESPECT for others, regardless of their social status, their race, their age, colour or religion.

They will need to show RESPECT for the opinions of others. They’ll also need to show that they have the ability AND desire to PRESERVE, PROTECT and RESPECT cultural “kastom”.

Such leaders would inevitably find themselves leading a nation of happy and “life-rich”, enterprising, healthy people.

When people live in such an environment, they tend to evolve and acquire skills that help them make their way in the modern world.

One of those skills is that of MAKING MONEY, having the human and technical resources, ably backed by a healthy living environment in the first instance (clean air, clean water), to develop financially favourable trade opportunities with others, be they local or international.

Nevertheless, MAKING MONEY is one thing. MANAGING MONEY is altogether another matter. The purpose of the MAKING (the betterment of people’s lives – financially and spiritually) can be readily defeated by corruption and greed. We see and hear examples of it everywhere. In the newspapers. On the TV. On the radio. By way of the very efficient “coconut drums” wire.

As we have seen VERY recently, people are becoming more concerned about and conscious of the need for MANAGING MONEY in a no-holds-barred atmosphere of………….

ABSOLUTE TRANSPARENCY & ABSOLUTE PROFESSIONALISM.

To sum it all up and as I’m sure my father would have said –“It takes an honest man to do that!”

POSTSCRIPT: In case you haven’t already worked it out, the “Minister of Chickens” is the same “Big Man” being touted by the Opposition as the next Prime Minister of Vanuatu. Go figure!!!

Snouts at the trough again?Shefa Provincial CouncilPVMC Pig-out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “Working Lunch” at The Havanah?

The Council is broke. Shefa isn’t exactly setting the world on fire economically either.

Yet, somehow the same people found the money to travel from the CBD to dine out at one of Vanuatu’s finest and most expensive restaurants??

OINK!

“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” everyone

Christmas Watcher

and be sure to be good boys and girls next year…