Wilson’s Word… farewell to 2018

WORLD crude oil prices have fallen significantly this week, with as much as seven per cent on one day. Prices are falling at the petrol stations around Australia accordingly. fuel-pumpThey should here in Vanuatu too, but it seems unlikely.

Monopolies were on Prime Minister Salwai’s ‘to do’ list and it is time the government does something about petrol and electricity prices as we are being roundly ripped off permanently.

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Swoop Aero droneDRONE delivered vaccines – a world first for Vanuatu is one of the great positive news stories of this century and it has been covered by every major media outlet in every continent around the world. We had the story on this website of the first child to receive a drone delivered vaccine in Erromango the day after it happened on December 18. WW even did a piece about it on live London radio on December 20. It was front page of the Daily Post on Christmas Eve, which is both pathetic timing and poor news judgment.

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WW continues to be impressed about the work of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) as he receives regular press releases, including one this week chock full of important, albeit negative stats. Sadly their efforts highlight the almost unheard of work of their Vanuatu counterpart, the Vanuatu’s Women’s Centre (VWC).

For years, WW as editor of The Independent weekly newspaper waged a solo media campaign (as usual) against violence towards women and children in Vanuatu. He approached the VWC more than once asking them to join the campaign and supply pictures and stories of those abused (without victims’ names being published etc). WW did not even receive the courtesy of a reply. WW even thought it was because the approach had come from a white expat male, so he had more than one female Ni Van journo on staff chase them up, but to no avail.

WW understands the Australian government has pumped millions of dollars into the VWC in Port Vila over time but the return for the women of the nation is poor at best. WW has referred three women to the centre in Efate over eight years but the help they have received would not justify the refuge centre’s existence and with little known about it, that totally defeats the purpose of its existence. So it seems that this is a case of Australian money just wasted down the drain in Vanuatu. WW predicts that if the VWC responds to these remarks, it will not be to us, which is also pathetic, but to the Daily Post which is just professionally wrong. But the questions remain as to where and how the pile of money they receive is spent every year.

What is definitely known though, on a related matter, is that the Australian government via its High Commission in Port Vila has been formally approached twice during the past two years about financing a literary project aimed solely at promoting Ni Van women in Vanuatu. The second approach was greeted with such a positive initial response that it seemed to be a project that would definitely be financed by Australia within months. Since then not a word, and the so called professionals at the High Commission have not even been well versed enough in etiquette to give any reply to this plan, which would have seen one or two female Ni Van journalists employed on a very worthwhile project for at least six months.

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WW understands tenders are out for new toilets for the Mamas at the central fruit and veg market. Long overdue, because when WW stands harbor-side waiting for the ferry to Iririki, the smells emanating from that side of the market are not ones you would associate with good healthy food.

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The broken bridge at Creek Ai will soon be replaced with a well engineered new one.
The broken bridge at Creek Ai will soon be replaced with a well engineered new one.

THE new bridges under construction around Efate are being built very professionally, but a final completion date before April, according to WW’s insiders, seems unlikely.

And that does not allow for any cyclone or general bad weather interruptions. Plus it may incur penalty payments.

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jackpot-headerBIG, big New Year’s Eve at Palms Casino with lots of dosh on offer for the taking. There will be cash draws of VT 50,000 at 11pm, then VT 75,000 at 11.30pm and finally VT 100,000 just after midnight. And there will be live music from 10.30pm till 12.30am. Most of us have spent up big for Xmas, so this is a quick way to replenish your cash and start 2019 with a windfall.

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SAD to see there has been looting on Ambae, but it is not really surprising as the houses are sitting there empty and are therefore a real temptation for those Ambaeans who have started to drift back to the island as that volcano stays pretty quiet of late.

Meanwhile things are much wilder on Ambrym, where the recent eruption has literally triggered thousands of earthquakes recently. Vanuatu certainly earns its reputation as one of the wildest places around the globe.

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AND that the last Wilson’s Word for 2018. quill-pen-wilsons_word

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