OVER 500 PEOPLE visited the Transparency International Vanuatu information booth that was set up at the La Plage in Luganville Yesterday, Thursday 11th of November. The purpose of the booth was to promote and talk to people about the importance, and the reasons why we need to have the Right To Information (RTI) and how it would help the lives of the citizens of Vanuatu and to highlight citizens’ rights and duties in the Vanuatu Constitution.
People began visiting the Information booth immediately after it opened around nine o’clock in the morning, visitors came from as far as the Big Bay area and the West Coast of Santo. Throughout the morning several groups of people visited the information booth to get the information that was being broadcasted through the PA system by the TIV Civic Education Officer Mr. Douglas Tamara.
Among the visitors was an individual who came from the West Coast of Santo, after listening and reading through on information about the RTI he said that “our voices rarely get heard, there is a barrier that makes it impossible for information to get to us, what we hear on the road is what we get and that’s it.” He was referring to the region of West Coast Santo where it is isolated by road and is sometimes commonly referred to as the ‘last ples, last tingting’ (last place, last opinion).
Another visitor, who had just arrived from the island of Malekula, expressed his wish to see that relevant information is released for public awareness on a regular basis. He stated that information regarding foreign companies and investors that are investing in the islands of Vanuatu must also be released and received by the people in the remote communities so that they are aware of what is happening around them, and importantly who are the main players behind this investments.
By midday visitors continued to pour in, some of them sought information about Transparency International Vanuatu’s Advocacy & Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) while others sat by the seashore listening to Mr. Douglas talk about the rights and duties of citizens as expressed in the Vanuatu National Constitution.
Bislama copies of the National Constitution were also made available to the visitors for free, “a lot of people do not have this,” explained a youth from Fanafo village while holding up his copy of the constitution, “I am happy that I have a copy of the constitution, thank you,” he acknowledged while flickering through the pages.
As a matter of fact, he was not the only one who appreciated a copy of Vanuatu constitution because by midday two plastic containers that were recently filled with constitution books had run empty. Two hundred additional constitution books were later brought in by the TIV Sanma Provincial Facilitator to give to the visitors, but by 2 o’clock even the 200 copies of the national constitution were not enough to meet the public’s demand.
Transparency International Vanuatu believes in a participatory society where everyone concerned is involved in the decision-making process, and this can be achieved if everyone is well informed. Since its establishment in 2001 TIV has conducted such educational programs across the islands of Vanuatu, and TIV will continue to do so to support the national development of Vanuatu and to safeguard Vanuatu’s national integrity.
Between nine o’clock and twelve o’clock over 400 people visited the TIV information booth on the Right To Information, this significant high turnout within such a short three hour time-frame continues to confirm the will and the interests of the people during this times. By 2 o’clock the number of visitors had reached over 500.
Yesterday afternoon the Team visited the Sarakata community to talk to the young people there. Today the information booth will move to the Luganville Market House to deliver the same message – We Have The Right To Know – and this evening the team will visit the community of Solwey to talk to the people there. The areas of Pepsi, Showground, Chapuis, South and East Santo will be visited this week and next week.
If you interested in hearing more and to share your thoughts on the Right to Information a public consultation will be held on Monday the 23rd at the VNPF conference room in Santo, the forum will begin at 9:30 in the morning, everyone is welcome to attend.
For more information please contact us at; Tel: 25715, email; firstname.lastname@example.org