Vanuatu Government Employee Housing Conditions Slammed

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Anti-corruption chair alleges mismanagement by public service

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 14, 2013) – Chairlady of Women Against Crime and Corruption (WACC), Jenny Ligo, is calling on Vanuatu’s national Government to urgently do something with the Government housing condition that some government workers are currently facing.

In a press release to Daily Post, Mrs. Ligo who is the wife of Director General of the Lands Department, Joe Ligo, expressed her dissatisfaction over her firsthand experience as she described as the "mismanagement of the Government housing under the Public Service."

The outspoken Mrs. Ligo said although her husband is the DG of Lands, they used to live in their private house until an arrangement was made where they moved to a real estate-owned house paid by the government.

She said having agreed upon the arrangement; they were shocked later to find out that a sum of Vt1million [US$10,923] was deducted from her husband’s salary in relation to the rent payments. "My family has been facing a financial shortfall in our family budget only because of the unprofessional job carried out by the Lands Accountants," the frustrated Ligo said.

She argued that the Government is also wasting a lot of money on paying housing rents for civil servants who are renting from private sectors.

Since going through this experience, on another issue, the Chairlady of WACC is calling on to Public Service Commission to deal with its officers, as she claimed they failed to do their job professionally, but yet, a lot of government housing conditions are an "eye-sore" to the public.

Mrs. Ligo made specific mention of some of the police quarters at Independence Park area and Sea-side Police, where she referred to some of the condition of the houses as not "suitable to house families."

"As an Activist for Human Rights, I am concerned that the life of the Vanuatu Government workers are violated in the sense that they are not properly housed in a harmonious clean environment and this is against the United Nations international convention on the rights of families to enjoy their life to the fullest like everyone else.

"This serious and poor condition of Government housing should be a must on the priority List for Government for 2013 as it is violating the rights of women and children and their families under the Human Rights Declaration, CEDAW and CRC," Ligo stated.

Mrs. Ligo is suggesting that another alternative that the government should consider is to privatize the body looking after government houses.

Mrs. Ligo is concerned that Police Officers are not well housed and yet we expect them to give their full service to the public.

"It is a shame as we criticize the work of police but fail to upgrade the housing condition these Police officers are living in."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sato Kilman had earlier vowed he would look into the conditions of the Police quarters in the areas of Independence Park, Sea-side Police and George Pompidou.

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