Vanuatu’s public assets will lose their beauty and value and continue to deteriorate and depreciate to a poor state if people continue to vandalise public assets without being cautious and responsible enough to care for them.
Vandalism is defined as ‘action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property.
Vandalism exists everywhere around the world and Vanuatu has some very good examples of damaged public assets, of which vandalism is the major cause of their running down and destruction. Acts of vandalism reflect the poor mindset and mentality of the public who are supposed to be the owners of these very assets.
Vandalism portrays an insolent and disrespectful attitude of the people and their lack of ownership of public assets to be responsible enough to care for these assets.
Citizens of Vanuatu must stop vandalism and start to show some respect for public assets and take ownership of them to protect them from damage and defacing.
The two main towns of Port Vila and Luganville are currently witnessing the construction of huge infrastructure projects which the government and people of Vanuatu must take responsibility in guarding and protecting against vandalism.
The new beatification project in the heart of Port Vila town must not be spoiled and everyone must put hands together to care for the infrastructures and facilities if we want our future generation to enjoy the same privilege as we do.
Aid donors jointly fund some of the projects and caring for the facilities will paint a good image to donors on how we really care and respect public assets.
These projects include the Lapetasi wharf, the Port Vila footpath and tar seal road and the beautification project at Sea Front.
The former Korman Stadium, Chapui Stadium, Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) toilet doors and many others are some classic examples of vandalised public properties. Most of the schools in the country are victims to vandalism activities.
It is very sad and hurting to see some disrespectful and arrogant people use spray paint to write on the new footpath constructed in Port Vila. Some even write on the tables and chairs on the new beautification project at Fatumaru Bay. These facilities are newly built less than a year.
The billboard for the newly built road on the island of Santo was stoned and damaged some years back just after the road was completed and even the tar seal road was axed by so-called rural people with all sorts of nicknames.
Some people are very irresponsible and disrespectful towards these newly built facilities constructed by some very hardworking men and women.
Meanwhile, two other issues that also contribute to the defacing and destruction of public assets are unruly behaviour by drunkards and the littering of the environment and public places with rubbish.
This includes food take-away boxes or plastic bags, bottles littered anywhere without being cautious of the environment.
The activities of littering is similar to acts of vandalism because it helps to damage and destroy the beautiful environment we have.
The Vanuatu Daily Post newspaper once published an article on the illegal dumping of rubbish at Fatumaru Bay which has now become the site for the biggest beautification project in the Country.
Despite this entire negative attitude, not everyone has this vicious mentality and habit of tarnishing what they have around them because there still are many people who are respectful, caring and loving towards their beautiful environment.
The habit of writing or drawings on properties can be encouraged to be used in a different way for art purposes and also help young people to develop their graffiti skills.
For instance, the images of Scholars and their quotes at the Emalus Campus concrete walls may seem not that bad and a mess in the eyes of people but gives messages to by passers.
Some very good examples of art work are the painting at the Vila Central hospital and the UNELCO power box close to the Harbour view restaurant.
Vandalism and littering activities can deteriorate and ruin the beauty of a facility or environment. But we can change that mindsets into a more useful way.
Maybe one way is to allow buildings or spaces for people to practice their graffiti skills and have their Art work displayed there.
Schools should also discourage students from vandalism activities. They should be encouraged to utilize their skills in a more positive and productive way.
Maybe this can help reduce the issue of vandalism in our Country.
Stringent rules and measures should be introduced and implemented to safeguard the beauty and state of public assets.
The new seafront beautification project must have a day and night time security officer to keep an eye on people accessing the park to ensure they use the park wisely and properly without destroying the man-made and natural beauty of the place.
If we want a clean environment and lasting public assets then we need to educate our younger generation and everyone around us to simply have due respect for everything around us.