Dear Editor,

As a paramount chief of Emae in the Shepherds islands, I write to voice my deep concern that the late Donald Kalpokas Masike’Vanua, was not accorded the highest respect during his passing away, the Government and custom protocols that he deserved.

It was sad to note that, from the moment of his passing away to his final resting place on his home island of Lelepa in North Efate, he was not given the highest protocols by the Government nor the Efate Vaturisu Council of Chiefs.

It would have been fitting if the national government had declared a national day of mourning and the participation of the public, the students, the churches and the chiefs and even the business community, for who he was.

The late Donald Kalpokas Masike’Vanua was the first initiator of the political Independence of Vanuatu, together with his colleague Peter Taurakoto and of course the late Father Walter Lini.

In my honest opinion, the body of the Late Donald Kalpokas Masike’Vanua, should have been kept in state at parliament house for national and civic leaders and general members of the public to pay him their final respect.

Some speech should be delivered at parliament when the body of the late Donald Kalpokas Masike’Vanua was lying in state.

Churches should be allowed to present gospel songs as he was a church elder, Custom Chiefs should be allowed to perform customary protocols and students present items.

When his coffin left for North Efate, citizens of Port Vila were not aware that the body of the man who spearheaded political independence of Vanuatu was leaving the capital for the final time to return to his home in Lelepa island in North Efate. Arrangements should have been made for the general members of the public to line up the streets of Port Vila to bid him final farewell.

This never happened for the man whom saw the light at the end of the tunnel for Vanuatu’s political independence.

I feel that the Efate Vaturisu Council of Chiefs should do more in terms of Efate customs protocols and why didn’t they perform any custom protocols?

Aren’t they glad that they are from Efate?

I was surprised to see that only myself and one or two other chiefs from Shepherds and Takara were spend the night mourning over his coffin on Lelepa before his final funeral service the following day.

The late Donald Kalpokas Masike’Vanua, deserved the highest government protocol and respect he was never accorded and the same with the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs.

The late Donald Kalpokas Masike’Vanua was never accorded the full protocol funeral service he deserved.

Paramount Chief Joseph Tinapuamata

Emae Island

Shepherds Group

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