Wilson’s Word – welcome to 2019

THE public have until mid-February to voice their opinions about the government’s political reform laws. WW has repeatedly said most, if not all of it should be rejected and then go back to the drawing board to start again. Some of the suggested reforms are not democratic and would go a long way to ensure that an elected government would stay full term no matter how corrupt it had become.

Have_Your_say_spotlightEven if these rigid measures became law, certain governments would find other ways to stay in power no matter what it took, as they have done previously. But WW applauds the government for putting this to the people and asks the community to get behind this rare opportunity to have their say.

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INSTEAD of wasting time, people power and finance on flawed, would-be acts of Parliament, WW feels that 2019 has to be a year of real decision making for some basic but extremely important issues in Port Vila and Efate.

Bouffa landfill.
Bouffa landfill.

The Bouffa landfill site is an environmental time bomb ready to explode in the near future. It is full to overflowing and is now inhabited by a large number of families in conditions that are scary for a myriad of serious health reasons, even for a Third World country. The health issues are massive and the reality is that we cannot keep disposing rubbish to this one site, which is past its use-by date.

We can have almost immediate access to a state-of-the-art European made industrial incinerator, which should easily attract significant funding from some international quarter and will solve all our immediate refuse problems in a totally environmentally friendly manner. This would again have the added benefit of Vanuatu being seen as an environmental leader in the Pacific beyond the plastic ban, which would then have the flow on effect of helping to attract future, significant funding for other needed and urgent projects.

Port Vila CemeteryOne of those is that the central cemetery in Port Vila is also in the red zone with the full sign about to be raised. WW understands that the solution to this case is pretty clear cut. The authorities either need to find land, which is now at a premium price around Port Vila, for another traditional style cemetery or look at the possibility of constructing a commercial crematorium. WW knows that one major local businessman examined this possibility in detail about four years ago and one potential sticking point that became a potential bonus for the plan was that senior Efate chiefs told him they were not opposed to this form of burial. A crematorium could solve a major problem about to erupt in the Port Vila area and again WW feels that external funding could be easily found for such a project.

Another major problem that will not go away in 2019 is the sewerage issue in Port Vila and its harbour. The swimming ban is necessary but totally embarrassing. Many people have suggested a raft of reasons for the harbour pollution other than the major sewerage No Swimming sign at Fatumaru bayproblem. They are completely wrong and most of their babble is ignorant rubbish that has largely stemmed from the muppets who frequent and dominate social media in this country. WW will repeat it again – there is almost no sewerage system in Port Vila, so all of that goes into the harbour through the storm water drain system, as it has done forever. That is the pollution. End of story, muppets.

But now the government needs to locate adequate finance to see that a proper sewerage system is installed in our capital city and this needs to be a 2019 project, hopefully without consultants who financially devour massive amounts of every project in this country for little or no return to the people. Experts have told WW it will not be cheap, but we cannot let the status quo continue for both obvious health and tourism reasons.

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AND while we enjoy the new key roads in central Port Vila, other road networks in Efate must be attended to this year as well. Once we have the fanfare over the airport runway, we need to strongly focus on a major influx of new tourists – mainly from Asia. The out of town road network is not suitable for any of us now, let alone a sizeable influx of new tourists from mid- 2019. So that should be enough incentive to keep the government busy for several months now.

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australian-flag-1332908_640VANUATU will be hosting a major Australian government figure in mid- January. The plans are very elaborate and the High Commission will not name the visitor at this stage.

Watch this space…

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AN estimated 19 babies were born in Vanuatu on New Year’s Day which pales into insignificance when you see that the number of births on New Year’s Day in Papua New Guinea was estimated at about 607. Now that’s a busy day.

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WW knows we all feel for our Fijian neighbours who are facing flooding again from the latest cyclone, as they did all last summer. But we should also be thinking about tourism which is a cut-throat business. The extreme weather must be affecting tourism in Fiji adversely with people cutting short holidays, postponing or simply just not going.

Tourism pictureWW feels we should be finding subtle ways to cash in on this situation in both Australia and New Zealand, even if it is ads just showing our perfect weather currently. Fiji was quick to pile on the ads after we were smashed by Pam. Yes, we could be facing a cyclone any time as well. But the reality is that we are not right now and we don’t have many cyclones at this time of the year, so we should be making hay while the sun shines.

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AirVanuatuWW has been told that we should know next week if there will be direct flights with Air Vanuatu from Melbourne, which hasn’t happened for some time. One major resort owner told WW late last year that 37 per cent of his guests were from Melbourne and surrounds, so it seems logical to see direct flights from that often freezing cold city of 4.8 million people. Certainly it should operate from May to September at least.

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AND that’s Wilson’s Word quill-pen-wilsons_word

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