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Port Vila BAN Editor Response

Daily Post published an article on Tuesday the 11th of September with the title reading “Victims punished in Port Vila’s dirty harbour”, published in issue no. 5507.

The article conveys the point that the level of bacteria present in the waters of Port Vila harbour are not being disputed,it is the fine a person, or persons incurs is the subject.The article further expresses that the relevant authorities are failing in their part to educate and inform the public on the Ban and the fine (as per notice no:72, 2018), this may be true in part, however the Department working with the full team and the Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC) to make sure the public is made aware.

The article also insights that the department has in fact caught and penalised some members of the public already since the ban, this is not true. It is still in the process of informing the public with the emphasis on how unsafe it is for swimming via word of mouth, the department of Water Resources Facebook page and talkback shows while the notice boards are in production.

Subclause (2) of the notice reads: “A person who contravenes subclause (1) commits an offence under section 32 of the Act (Water Resources Management Act [CAP 28] punishable on conviction by a fine of not exceeding VT 1, 000, 000 or to imprisonment for a period of not more than 2 years, or both”. These are set limits, the amount of fine and prison term will depend on certain categories of which the Department of Water Resources is working to establish.

The important thing to note is, the department is doing this for the people, to protect us all. We need everyone to come together to make this work.