Posts Tagged ‘Minister’

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.

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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!!!

“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” everyone

Christmas Watcher

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

Parliament of Vanuatu

A little while ago, the Minister of Internal Affairs, MP Patrick Crowby, issued a decree regarding the use or should I say, mis-use of the Vanuatu Flag.

In light of some prevailing circumstances at the time, I had no disagreement with the Minister – on most counts…..especially those wherein the flag was being ‘abused’ for commercial purposes on the backs of buses and the like.

Well, Minister, perhaps you should also focus on the abuse of our official emblems within your own government operations, for instance – the graphic displayed on the Vanuatu Parliament live stream site.

The amateurish graphics used on the site are reminiscent of a cut-out kindergarten drawing of the official emblem of the Vanuatu Government which SHOULD look like this….

Vanuatu Government

 

 

 

…..and just for the record – should I choose to fly the Vanuatu flag at any time on my car or outside my home due to my pride for this country, I shall do so, regardless of what some jumped-up politician says!

Silip.

Leadership by Example?

Leadership by Example

I imagine that the people of Vanuatu would like to hear from the Hon. PM Moana Carcasses and/or MP Ralph Regenvanu on the issue concerning the apparent after-hours purchase of alcohol by the PM.

On the surface, it appears that the Hon. PM is following in the footsteps of his predecessors in showing a lack of respect for the law and for the people of Vanuatu generally, if these allegations are true.

This alleged action is NOT what we have come to expect by way of exemplary behaviour from the present government and if true, is disappointing to say the least.

If the allegation is true, then perhaps the PM should look to making an immediate public apology and seek forgiveness from his masters (the people of Vanuatu) for his error of judgement.

“Leadership by Example” in the right manner is what we expect to see from our Parliamentary and Civil service leaders – nothing less than that will suffice!

Brain Fart

Ministerial Brain Fart

In another shameful incident of Ministerial ineptitude and LACK OF RESPECT for their position, the present Minister of Youth and Sports has apparently set a fine example for those he is supposed to be representing………

….turned up drunk at the airport for the welcoming reception for our “Golden Girls”, the Vanuatu Beach VolleyBall Team…….is asked for a contribution for a special dinner for these champions (and brilliant ambassadors) and offers a paltry Vt3,000……..proceeds back to the Club 107 nightclub to drink some more………..then drives to go who-knows-where and crashes his Government vehicle.

In an instance like this, it’s my belief that a PERSON of INTEGRITY would hold it upon themselves to resign from their high-level position of trust (“Minister”) rather than wait for either the axe to fall or to see if he/she will ‘get away with it’.

The Carcasses-led government’s moral fibre and conviction in principles of honesty, integrity and accountability will be tested and noted….closely, by all I expect. Over to you guys – here’s your collective opportunity to REALLY open a new chapter in Vanuatu’s political history……for the better.

Footnote: It’s also about time the Club 107 Management showed some common sense and respect for the community. The regular assaults by/on patrons, politicians and senior bureaucrats publicly misbehaving and getting trashed and the like may be good for the management’s bank balances but it is NOT what a community-minded business should be either.

Minister Youth & Sports crash

Paper Bag Ministers

Paper Bag Ministers

According to Hon. MP Ralph Regenvanu – “in the past five years, the Government of Vanuatu has issued about 145 licenses for offshore mining exploration and prospecting, and another 3 for offshore oil exploration”.

It’s good to see this revelation in the media – it’s called transparency.

HOWEVER, there is yet to be any mention of the amount of licence fees paid and who they were paid to or is this yet another case of previous Paper Bag Ministers (sometimes referred to as Minister of Lands) at work again?

The WatcherI am VERY surprised at the re-appointment of Arthur Caulton to the the Police Commissioner’s job. Wouldn’t it have been better to bring in a new face – one that doesn’t have “wantok” issues and the like?

Who had the final say on his appointment?

Is it just me that feels let down by this decision?

VNPF

Vanuatu National Provident Fund

Here is Part Two of Keep Your Grubby Hands Off OUR Money!”  Enjoy….

(Note: All of my media articles can be found on the Home page of “The Watcher”  or here (The Money Connection).

By now, you all know of my passionate interest in anti-corruption and my activist role in attempts to change things for the better in Vanuatu. The Vanuatu government ratified a UN Convention, 2 years ago, wherein an anti-corruption body was to be formed. This has not happened yet and time is running out for the government to meet its UN obligations.

ralph regenvanuFortunately, the new Cabinet includes Ralph Regenvanu, the new Lands Minister, President of the Graon mo Jastis Pati and current Government Spokesman. I say “fortunately” because Ralph is also an enthusiastic anti-corruption advocate. As such, I am hoping and anticipating that he will “make it happen”, sooner, rather than later.

On the world scene, things have also been pretty chaotic – Civil wars in Africa, Cyprus citizens robbed of their savings, calls by Germany for the Italians to have some of their personal wealth confiscated as well (15%), attempted leadership spill in Australia, South Korea and Guam are on “high alert” due to North Korea making a lot of noises about war and Argentina pushing to take over the Falklands again in light of the first-ever commercial oil discovery there. Hope the situation doesn’t arise where another “Maggie Thatcher” is needed again, as in 1982!

A word or two on GOLD. The “mates club” members – IMF, WTO, World Bank, EU, US Federal Reserve and the ECB have done a cracker of a job in their apparent common goal of creating economic chaos. Their so-called attempts to “stimulate growth” have been a hoax. Why? Well, they continue to debase the global currencies ad nauseum and simultaneously decry the value of GOLD (E.g., Ben Bernanke’s stated view that gold is NOT money) but what are they doing in practice? Surprise! They’re buying gold as if there were no tomorrow. For the first time in 20 years, the Central Banks became net BUYERS of gold in 2011 and have retained that position ever since.

VNPF

Vanuatu National Provident Fund

Pension Funds, worldwide, are now pushing to have a proportion of their assets allocated to gold (Hmmm, I wonder what the VNPF’s position is on this?). Note: I know that the current Reserve Bank Governor has stated that Vanuatu has no gold nor is there any intention of having gold in the nation’s coffers.

These two trending factors, Central Bank buying and Pension Fund buying combined with an increasing private demand for gold, stand to push up its prices and in my view, dramatically.

There are many indicators emerging that suggest that 2013 could well be the watershed year for global finances. The issue is not whether we’ll feel any pain from a global financial collapse but rather how much pain and how soon? In times such as these, gold always proves its worth as a “store of value”. Got some? No? Get some.

MP-Moana-Carcasses-SponsorshipMake no mistake about it – the new government has been handed a HUGE mess, a mess created by previous administrations. Nepotism, cronyism, stupidity, ignorance, theft and outright fraud have all taken their toll on the economy and the social fabric of Vanuatu society under these same administrations. In many, many instances it comes back to corruption – intentional raping of Vanuatu’s financial resources by those in positions of power in government and the public sector.

In fact, I believe strongly that the main reason for the fall of Sato Kilman’s government and their subsequent replacement by the team led by the new PM, Moana Carcasses, is the issue of corruption.

However, maybe now, for the first time ever in the history of Vanuatu, it can be said that a new government is there upon the back of its mandate to eliminate corruption. Emanating from this, of course, are two key questions – (a) Can they do it? and (b) Do they have the political will to do it?

So, let’s get back to the mess left for the new powers-that-be. Vanuatu is effectively bankrupt, in my view. The country is financially dependent upon the largesse of Aid donors. It has massive debts, very little export income and an enormous reliance on imported goods. The public service is overweight, no – obese with incompetent people, ineffectual systems and processes and a lack of work ethic. The public sector is waaaay too large and has a culture that encourages corruptive practices.

In an interview with MP Ralph Regenvanu, Radio NZ states “However, the new-look cabinet faces an unprecedented budget deficit, something the new Lands Minister Ralph Regenvanu admits is a huge problem.” Hell yes!

In the same article, the new Finance Minister, Willie Jimmy is reported to state that “he will seek assurances from heads of all public departments that they can achieve their budget targets”.

Well, for the sake of the economic health of Vanuatu and the new government’s attempts to fix things, I truly hope that MP Jimmy has been misquoted.

We do NOT want or need assurances that they can achieve their already-established budgets because most, if not all the Departmental budgetary considerations are likely to be based on false premises anyway.

What we DO want and need is a more pragmatic approach. MP Ralph has already stated the need to cut costs and unnecessary spending….and he’s correct. Simultaneously, the government’s export income and statutory revenue collection processes need to be investigated and improved as well. By this, I’m certainly not advocating that the new government continues down the same path as previous governments in their efforts to “kill the golden goose” – a.k.a. the ex-pat driven business community.

Oh yeah – and please, get some co-operative efficiency into areas such as the Immigration Department – another hopelessly inefficient, poorly-managed public SERVICE (“service” – what’s that, the PIO said?) that needs a swift kick in the bum!