In preparing your analysis, you must answer the following questions:
- Identify and discuss the prime ethical and governing issues presented in the Vanuatu’s Broken Dream video.
- Did PO Cruises act ethically in this case? Justify your answer.
- Who should be responsible for rectifying issued that you have identified? Why? Explain your reasoning.
- Discuss how Australian and/or Vanuatu’s governments could have resolved identified issues. Justify your answer.
- Suggest at least three recommendations to overcome such issues in the future.
Issues faced by Vanuatu
The island of Vanuatu has been facing several issues related to development and sustainability. The Vanuatu Islands are a popular tourist destination but lack of proper utilization of foreign funds, tourist money, corruption and the inability of the government to focus on the problems of the local community, has limited the development of the islands. The discussion is to take place on the video named ‘Vanuatu’s Broken Dreams’. In this analysis, the discussion focuses on the identification of the problems that are the causes of the lack of development. The discussion further analyses as to who is responsible for the problems and who can bring about the change. The discussion also focuses on the responsibility of the local people and community to take the matter into their own hands and work for the sustainable development of the islands. Islands such as Pentecost are setting examples of the development that is required. The analysis of such cases can help deduce the recommendations that can be applied for the development of Vanuatu. Lastly, the conclusion will summarise the overall discussion and conclude on the present condition of Vanuatu and the potentials that they have.
Vanuatu's Broken Dream video focuses on the island of Wala, a part of the island nation of Vanuatu. The island is one of the prime tourist attractions of the country. However, with the increasing number of tourists and money, no significant development can be seen in the Wala islands. The main cause of the problem is that the money received from the tourists are not being properly utilized for the development. Some of the highlighted problems of the island are lack of proper toilet, a supply of drinking water and other basic facilities for the local community (World Health Organization 2016). There is a modern toilet built with Australian funds but only for tourist use. Similarly, there is a supply of local drinking water, but only for the tourists' use. The local community feels deprived by these facts and feels that with the service that they provide to the tourists, they should have also had some part of the money that is earned from the tourists so that they could use it for the development of their community. The local chiefs are aware of the problem but do not know whom to address. The government has no proper monitoring system to identify where the money earned from tourist cruises goes or who is behind the corrupted system (Baker 2015), which plays a major role in the deprivation of the local community. Another governing issue that has been highlighted is that the local chiefs are not involved in the proper management of the tourist industry. The reliability on foreign agencies and private companies are some of the main causes for the unethical deprivation of the people of the Wala Island and other islands which are the tourist destinations in the Vanuatu nation.
Responsibility of Local Community
The PO cruises which is the main source of bringing tourists to the Wala Island has a moral responsibility towards the people and the place which is one of their prime source of income (Bonilla 2017). However, as can be seen in the video, PO cruises does not take any responsibility for the community development. It is a private corporation, whose prime aim is profit, but in this case, the PO cruises seem to have exploited the benefits given to them for conducting tours to the Wala Island.
The toilets and water supply system were all built from the Australian aid policy named, Ausaid. However, it is not clear, how a government aided public system can only be used for the customers of a private company (Nimbtik 2016). PO cruises have indeed acted unethically in manipulating the government for using these systems for their personal use when the system should have actually benefitted the local community. The local community has no complaints about this unethical use but wants to have similar facilities for the healthy growth of the community. Moreover, the money promised to the local community by the arrival of the PO cruises is nowhere to be seen. The local chiefs are unaware of the fact where the money goes. It is unethical on the part of PO cruises to not maintain any transparency with the local community and exploiting their cultural benefits for their own profits. The money should have directly benefitted the locals of the Wala Island.
The responsibility for the issues that have been identified falls on both the government officials and the local community. In the video, it can be seen that the then Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil accusing government officials and politicians of corruption (sbs.com.au 2013), and how the money has not reached the islanders like that of Wala. Proper governance and identification of these corrupt officials and strict punishment for the accused should reduce the corruption, according to the former prime minister.
Sethy John Regenvanu, one of Vanuatu's freedom fighters and minister of the first independent Vanuatu government, identifies the problem as the selfishness of the later generations (www.sbs.com.au 2013). According to him, the dream they had about freedom and the potential of a free nation, was exploited by the later politicians who only maximized their own benefits. The responsibility hence once again falls on the government to rectify these issues.
However, it is not always possible for the government to address all issues in a nation like Vanuatu. Islands such as Pentecost have set an example how the local communities can share responsibility (dailypost.vu 2014). People like Barnabas Tabi, have inspired people to take up means for their own development rather than depending on tourists or government aids. His Apma Financial Investment Centre provides loans to people for small investments and setting up businesses (Toa 2017). He has worked for the development of government houses and schools in the island of Pentecost with local help to bring a sustainable development to the local community without having to depend on others.
Example of Pentecost
The Australian government, which is the prime benefactor of the Vanuatu islands, provides AusAID, for the development of infrastructure as has been seen in Wala Island (dfat.gov.au 2018). However, the government should monitor where its funds are being used and how it is helping the local community. The use of foreign for the benefits of private organizations such as PO cruises is not ethical and right.
Moreover, besides the Australian government, the prime responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Vanuatu governments to implement a proper and efficient system (www.economist.com 2015), which can monitor the corruption of politicians and officials and properly use the government funds for the development of the underdeveloped communities like Wala, which lack proper sanitation, water systems and schools.
The island of Pentecost sets an example of how change can be brought about in the islands like Wala. Far from Port Villa, the capital of Vanuatu, these underdeveloped islands should start corporations and focus on the export of products, which can be produced in the islands. Kava roots one of the prime products of Vanuatu has a potential to bring huge profits for the development of the communities (Roy 2017).
The communities should unite to see into the matters about where the money earned from the tourists are going. Instead of depending on private organizations, the local corporations can develop their own tourism industry which can benefit them directly (Schneider and Gooskens 2017). Small banks can provide loans for the development of these industries.
Moreover, the communities can build public infrastructure from the profits that can be gained from the above recommendations. Schools, sanitation, purified water can help the community to develop into a modern society which can drive away poverty.
The Wala islands of Vanuatu present a very sad picture of a deprived community behind the shining tourism industry that prevails there. The huge profits made from the tourists hardly make way to the local communities who do not even enjoy the basic infrastructures such as water supply and proper sanitation. The root cause has been identified as the dominance of private organizations such as PO cruises that focus only on their own benefits. Moreover, corrupt government officials and politicians play a hindrance in the proper channeling of the government aids to the local communities. Lack of proper monitoring structure provides this corruption with loopholes to operate. However, the government and the local communities share a joint responsibility for the address of this issue. Implementation of stricter rules and proper use of foreign aids by the government can help the communities. Moreover, the local communities can also develop their own co-operatives and invest in small business to garner profits for their own development without depending on the government. Islands such as Pentecost and people like Barnabas Tabi and Sethy John Regenvanu are examples that islands like Wala still have hope. The education and development are the dreams that can come true for the people of Vanuatu.
Baker, B. 2015. Trouble in Paradise: Intrigue and Corruption in Vanuatu. [online] The Diplomat. Available at: https://thediplomat.com/2015/10/trouble-in-paradise-intrigue-and-corruption-in-vanuatu/ [Accessed 7 Jun. 2018].
Bonilla, M.J., 2017. Corporate social responsibility in the cruise sector. Cruise Ship Tourism, p.86.
dailypost.vu 2014. Mission “microprojects” of the French Embassy on the island of Pentecost. [online] dailypost.vu. Available at: https://dailypost.vu/news/mission-microprojects-of-the-french-embassy-on-the-island-of/article_8694ac8a-8548-595c-8cf8-b4b573e65c24.html [Accessed 7 Jun. 2018].
dfat.gov.au 2018. Overview of Australia's aid program to Vanuatu. [online] Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Available at: https://dfat.gov.au/geo/vanuatu/development-assistance/Pages/development-assistance-in-vanuatu.aspx [Accessed 7 Jun. 2018].
Nimbtik, G., 2016. “Worlds in Collision”: an inquiry into the sources of corruption within Vanuatu government and society.
Roy, E. 2017. Vanuatu leads push to make narcotic drink kava a worldwide favourite. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/23/vanuatu-leads-push-to-make-narcotic-drink-kava-a-worldwide-favourite [Accessed 7 Jun. 2018].
Schneider, C. and Gooskens, C., 2017. Approaching micro-level planning from an intelligibility perspective: a case study from Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 38(6), pp.530-544.
Toa, E. 2017. Govt must do more to protect people from scams - Vanuatu Independent. [online] Vanuatu Independent. Available at: https://vanuatuindependent.com/2017/02/19/govt-must-protect-people-scams/ [Accessed 7 Jun. 2018].
World Health Organization, 2016. Public health risk assessment and interventions: tropical cyclone Pam, Vanuatu.
www.economist.com 2015. For the first time, Vanuatu jails corrupt legislators. [online] The Economist. Available at: https://www.economist.com/news/2015/10/26/for-the-first-time-vanuatu-jails-corrupt-legislators [Accessed 7 Jun. 2018].
www.sbs.com.au 2013. Vanuatu's Broken Dreams. [online] News. Available at: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/story/vanuatus-broken-dreams [Accessed 7 Jun. 2018].
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