Dear Editor,

40 years of Independence!! What a wonderful achievement to celebrate and particularly when you look around the Pacific at the Independence histories of other countries in the region.

I am very much looking forward to the celebrations as I am sure are most of my fellow citizens. I have one major concern, however, and that is for all those poor kava bar owners, employees and drinkers (there are upwards of some 400 in the wider Port Vila area I understand). Due to the restriction on businesses being open during Independence public holidays that was introduced by the President last week I presume they are now required to write a letter to the Department of Labour before Tuesday the 22nd.

They must outline their opening hours, the hours that staff will be working etc.

Sadly, this is very likely to be futile because it is hard to see how kava bars will be judged as an essential business. I must state I have a vested interest here. I enjoy a kava now and then and particularly around the 30 July. If things don’t change I might have to rush out before the 24th and stock up with kava in plastic bottles and put them in the freezer. Ahwee.

Hapi Indipendens lo olgeta evriwan.

Dr Stuart Bedford VSM (Vanuatu Service Medal)

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