The well-known, dedicated and a very humble Dorosday Kenneth Watson, who worked in the public service for many years, sadly passed away at Port Vila Referral Hospital on Sunday, December 10 2023.

    On Wednesday, December 13, her body was transferred to Uripiv Island for burial surrounded by her loving family and community. She died at the age of 59 and was one of the Pacific Island nation’s finest and longest serving female civil servants in the position of Director and Chief Executive.

    Climate Change and Adaptation Minister Ralph Regenvanu, also from Uripiv Island, said that the Kenneth Watsons were a very close family. He described Dorosday Kenneth Watson as a pillar of strength and courage, a champion for women and a mentor and collaborator to so many.

    She studied for a degree in marine resource management in the UK and was later recalled by the government to take up the post of Director of Fisheries.

    After heading the Fisheries Department, Kenneth Watson was later Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for many years.

    Reaching the high position of Director, Kenneth Watson ventured into an area where very few women had held before. During her decades in public service, Dorosday Kenneth Watson was a passionate advocate for gender equality and the promotion of women in the workplace.

    In 2009, she became Director of Women’s Affairs Department and later rose to Director General in the Ministry of Justice and Community Services.

    She continued to campaign on the importance of women's issues pushing for them to be address by all government departments and interest groups. She also introduced an initiative aimed at changing the attitudes in the Pacific that prevented women from taking on leadership roles.

    Member of Parliament of Tanna constituency, Honorable Jotham Napat would like to personally recognise her contributions to public service and the country and especially her leadership empowerment of women.

    Ms. Jennifer Kalpokas Doan, the Executive Director of Balance of Power, described Kenneth Watson as a true leader and a role model for many women in Vanuatu.

    Yasmine Bjornum, the founder of Sista Magazine, explained that Dorosday was a person who truly cared about nation-building. She understood that gender equality was vital to building Vanuatu and she was a person who felt emotion for it.

    Dorosday Kenneth Watson was dismissed from the DG position in 2021 after challenging a Council of Ministers' decision to abolish the Ministry of Justice and replace it with the Ministry of Fisheries, Maritime, and Ocean Affairs.

    She later sued for wrongful termination and the justice ministry remains intact while the Ministry of Fisheries never came into existence. The court ruled in favour of the late Kenneth Watson for wrongful termination by the Public Service Commission and awarded her compensation. She married fellow civil servant, Willie Watson from Tongoa Island who passed on some years ago. Late Dorosday Kenneth Watson is survived by her only daughter Martha Watson.

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