Posts Tagged ‘Phocea’

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!!!

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no-justiceIt just gets better and better…….

This morning’s Daily Post has as its lead article the news that 40 Department of Land staff are to be investigated by the Public Service Commission over their roles in the land scam created by the former Minister of Lands, Steven Kalsakau. Fair enough. HOWEVER, what is the Government doing about the fact that its own Minister instigated this rort in the first place? Please correct me if I am wrong but to my knowledge, the Government has made no comment regarding Kalsakau’s involvement. Instead, they gave him a new Ministry – Education. Isn’t that great? We already have unpaid teachers due to misuse and abuse of funds allocated to the education of our youth, Scholarships cancelled and schools in a state of disrepair and now we have a crooked Minister in charge of our children’s future, again.

Right now, Kalsakau, Carlot and Pipete are all facing criminal charges – all them Ministers in the previous and current governments. The truth, along with transparency, accountability and integrity it seems, doesn’t matter – it’s just “business as usual”.

John Shing, PA to the Prime Minister, summed it up nicely and I quote his direct words to me on Facebook – “…from a political stand point, any news, be it negative or positive is always good news as the aim of a politician is to ensure his/her name is always in the news. At the end of the day, people tend to forget the good and bad that has been committed. All they will remember will be the name.”

The truth and justice be damned, apparently!

Vanuatu GovernmentpatunvanuNeither the Vanuatu Government nor its Public Relations Officer, Jeff Joel Patunvanu, have made any effort whatsoever to address the PRO’s defamatory article of 1st February, 2013 other than to take the offending posting off the Vanuatu Government’s Internet site – “vanuatu2u”.

Not only do I take this as a personal affront but also as a true indication of the lack of integrity on the part of those mentioned above.

The Government and its “servants of the people” have shown their true colours, as anticipated – they have failed to display even the slightest shred of common decency in the matter, let alone R-E-S-P-E-C-T or H-O-N-O-U-R.

Ah well, looks like a busy “legal” week ahead…….

 

Phil ManhireHello. My name is Phil Manhire.

I was brought up by intelligent, caring and honest parents. They taught me about moral and ethical “values”. They did this through “leading by example” and I am truly grateful to them for that.

My father lived by the adage – “A man’s word is his bond”.

Mark Twain once said – “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”

Ayn Rand – “Integrity does not consist of loyalty to one’s subjective whims, but of loyalty to rational principles.”

I do my utmost to live the creed acknowledged by the above persons.

It’s my belief that a person’s integrity level is the very essence of “soul”, if you will.

The current attack on my personal integrity is, in effect, also an attack on any people or groups or businesses associated with me. This, to me, is a highly offensive attack, however, for the moment at least…… that is not the “meat” of this message.

The defining issue is the fact this Government is dedicated to hanging onto power, no matter the cost (to Vanuatu and its citizenry) or means taken to achieve that end. One of its chosen communication means is to lie, deny or ignore and throughout the process, act as if they consider themselves to be untouchable, per se.

The Vanuatu Government, including it’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) – Jeff Patunvanu have chosen to use their normal tactics of attention-diversion from their mis-deeds via the PRO’s Press Release on 1st February 2013.

It is my intention to hold both the Vanuatu Government and the PRO accountable for their actions. As the title says….

“You have picked on the wrong bloke this time, mate!”

Aliens in Human Form

Aliens in Human Form

Locally, well not much has changed over the past week or so– we’re getting a 1.5 Billion Vatu Convention Centre, courtesy of China. A likely white elephant, in my view and all the while sorely-needed money for health and education goes wanting.

Sometimes, I swear, I think there must be something to the “there are aliens amongst us in human form” theory because the actions of the policy-makers and law-makers here defy human logic.

Looking abroad, I guess the first point to make about the past week is that watching the markets has been as about as exciting as listening to the Antartic weather forecast for tomorrow (COLD!). All very “Ho hum”, you might say.

Apart from Japan’s, the others have all experienced small daily pluses/minuses with the end result that all ended “up” for the week.

What could have affected the markets in a manner that drove them in the same direction?

It’s all been to do with “money” or rather, the lack thereof.

JapanJAPAN. Currently has a national debt that is 24 times the tax revenues. Their new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has declared a new strategy for their economy. You guessed it – grease the wheels of the money-printing presses and let ‘er rip! This, from “The Guardian”, U.K…… The interest rate on Japan’s 10-year government bonds is now less than 1% – the lowest in the world, despite a very high level of government debt and annual budget deficits. Indeed, Japan’s debt is roughly 230% of GDP, higher than that of Greece (175% of GDP) and nearly twice that of Italy (125%). The annual budget deficit is nearly 10% of GDP, higher than any of the Eurozone countries. With nominal GDP stagnating, that deficit is causing the debt/GDP ratio to rise by 10% annually.”

One response from angryboy that had what I reckon is a good take on the issue, said –

“The Japanese have been trying to “kick start” their economy for years but all they seem to be doing is proving that Keynesian “stimulus” efforts work just like any other artificial stimulant by providing a short lived boost that does nothing to provide any sustainable, positive changes and leaves the country ever deeper in debt.
The one positive note is that there are plenty of lessons on what not to do for the West to learn from”

U.S. President Barack Obama says Congress has to raise the debt ceiling because they already spent the money.” 

Oh dear! And this from the leader of the largest economy on the planet (sigh).

CHINA. A different story to remind you about. There is continuing discussion and speculation about the Yuan gaining increasing status as a “currency of choice”. The facts speak for themselves and this CBNC article “Yuan as a World Currency? Getting there Fast” is but one of many snippets of the “facts” out there in mainstream and academic media.

PHOCEA SAGA. We’re watching the events and news surrounding this issue and will keep you posted. Is this the straw that will break the back of the Kilman government?

The WatcherIn another show of Vanuatu “justice” at work, Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot has been released on bail on the charges related to the “Phocea Affair” to allow him to attend to official duties, including his anticipated attendance on an official tour of the UN General Assembly next week.

C’mon Vanuatu (Govt.). Just for once, get serious about Vanuatu’s representation on the world stage and cancel his planned US (junket) trip! This may at least help in stopping us being the laughing-stock of the rest of the world.

After all – Do you really want him representing the people of Vanuatu at the UN?

Looking back on last week, it was one of “WOW” factor type events……….

 MONDAY:

Vanuatu “Daily Post”: “The Minister for Education Marcellino Pipite claimed that the information carried in Daily Post’s Saturday issue relating to the Yacht Phocea implicating him and another state minister is politically motivated.”

WOW! The good old “red herring” trick! Don’t mention the fact that HE WAS THERE. Oh,no……let’s try and pretend it never happened…or if it did….doesn’t really matter, does it? After all – he’s a “big man”.

 TUESDAY:

Sky News: “Spaniards Withdraw Money As Recession Deepens”—“The Spanish have withdrawn money from banks at a record rate in July, as official figures show their country’s recession has deepened.” 

WOW! Hard to believe that people, not just in Spain, but also in other countries, are doubting the financial integrity of the banks! Can’t understand why (LOL). 

WEDNESDAY

The Guardian (UK): “Mitt Romney becomes official GOP candidate at last” —“Mitt Romney‘s White House campaign was back on schedule on after he was formally nominated as the Republican presidential candidate…”.On the convention floor many delegates were yet to be won over by Romney, admitting he was not much of a campaigner but optimistic that the anti-Obama sentiment in the country will be the deciding factor on election day. Romney was formally nominated after a theatrical roll-call of delegates, with each state announcing votes for Romney or his last remaining challenger, the libertarian Ron Paul.” 

WOW! I am just so surprised that the GOP (“Grand Old Party”) decided to go with “more of the same”. Can’t have a ‘radical’, common-sense bloke like Ron Paul running the country, can we? We might all lose our jobs, for goodness’ sake! 

THURSDAY

Vanuatu “Daily Post”: “Pipite confirms boarding yacht, denies receiving money”—“The Education Minister Marcellino Pipite has said he will not sue Daily Post and TBV if they apologise to him for defamation of character. On the question of the minister actually went on board, his reply was: “I was invited.” And on the question of who gave the invitation, Minister Pipite replied that the invitation was from government authorities but refused to name the authority from a question by the media.” 

WOW! What a Saint the “Minister of chickens” is! 

FRIDAY

Sorry – No “WOW’s” –  

SATURDAY

Vanuatu Daily Post: “Director explains Vt3.5 million loss”—“When asked if he meant he could not be held accountable for the Vt3.5 million shortfall in the 2010 revenue collections, Mr. Tarilongi accepted he was responsible but maintained that the activities that led to the loss had nothing to do with him”. 

WOW! A back-pedalling Senior Civil Servant! Who woulda thunk it? 

Vanuatu Daily Post: “Immigration late for 117 passengers”. 

WOW! Can you believe it? A Government Department making life difficult for our chief revenue providers (tourists). Unbelievable!