An opinion by George Borugu

This month we as a nation will celebrate 40 years of political independence since 1980.

During the last 40 years our country and people have gone through many challenges both at the national, local, community and family level.

Some of the challenges are natural such as the eruption of the manaro volcano and the first time for us to experience category 5 cyclones through TC PAM and TC Harold.

Other challenges were man made such as the continuous political instability in our government system and the famous history of 14 MPs imprisoned which is a record in any country on this planet.

As a Christian country 40 years is symbolic and so I would like to pose the following for your thoughts:

(1) Will our leaders ever be able to find a solution to the continuous political instability, which in my view is mainly based on the selfish ambitions of individual MPs looking for opportunities to fill their pockets.

(2) Will our government be able to create a different system of local government that will be less costly but effective in bringing development services closer to our rural population?

(3) What about the ever-increasing unemployment and underemployment of our youth who make up over 50% of our population?

(4) What about the social challenges of increasing prostitution, family separation and polygamous relationships. Will we as a people ever come to overcome this through our renewal and strengthening of our faith and belief in God?

(5) When are we ever going to stop the corruptive practices of our government leaders?

(6) We are always abiding by international rules but when are we going to start to be a nationalist and put Vanuatu first before others?

(7) The rhetoric of rural development continues to be on the agenda of political parties during election campaigns without them actually doing anything serious about realizing the objectives after the election. So how can we capitalise on the network of Cooperatives to do something serious about it as our forefathers did before independence?

(8) Are we really serious about increasing government revenue through the introduction of some innovative ways or are we just going to continue to depend on traditional donor partners

(9) We have achieved the independence of Timor Leste but when are we going to be really serious about our support for political independence for Kanaky and West Papua and others.

(10) The symbolism of 40 years of the people of Israel in the wilderness and arriving in the promised land – what about our nation Vanuatu?

For me it is important that we all take time to ponder on these challenges because our Vanuatu of tomorrow depends on us today to make something better for our children and their children.

God bless us all. Happy and Prosperous 40 year celebration to us all.