Photos: Right To Information Law Community Awareness –  Malekula Island  

Awareness session at Lakatoro Market House.

A Team from Transparency International Vanuatu was recently on the island of Malekula conducting community awareness’s on the Right To Information Law from the 2nd to the 9th of April 2017.

The trip to the island of Malekula was made possible through funding support from the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP).

These are a few of the photos from that activity. 

Photos taken on a phone camera.

Traveling by boat to inform people from the offshore islands of Malekula.

Mother and her baby at Lakatoro.

Citizens being informed.

Distributing RTI Posters.

Raising the Right To Information message at Lakatoro.

Putting up posters at Potovro, Malekula.

Informing whoever we come across.

Right To Information Law is ‘The Peoples Law’.

The people have the right to know.

Distributing posters and brochures along the roads.

Vendor at Lakatoro Market House getting informed.

Matanvat, North West Malekula

Rensarie College.

Informing students and teachers at Rensarie College.

TIV Continues Right To Information Law Awareness Law To Malekula Island 

A Transparency International Vanuatu Team is currently on the island of Malekula to conduct Right To Information Law (RTI) Awareness on the island.


Malekula will be the third island to receive Transparency International Vanuatu’s RTI Law Community Awareness Sessions after the islands of Tongoa and Tanna.

After Malekula the Team will travel to Luganville for a week of community and youth oriented awareness programs before moving to the nearby island of Ambae.

51% Of Erromango People Support RTI Bill

A TEAM FROM Transparency International Vanuatu recently visited and traveled around 2the island of Erromango to consult with the people and to gather their opinions on the Bill for the Right To Information Act which has been listed to be tabled next week during the 2nd Extraordinary Session of Parliament.

The team spoke to over 990 people and informed them on the contents of the Bill as well as how the Bill will impact their lives when it becomes law. A lot of questions were asked on the island about the Right To Information (RTI) Bill and the consultation team responded to their queries thoroughly.

1The community consultations on the island of Erromango were conducted from the 2nd to the 8th of November, and approximately fifty one percent (51%) of the population on the island were informed of the RTI Bill (Erromango Pop: 1,950 – According to 2009 National Census). The other forty nine percent (49%) of the population the team could not reach them due to their work commitments and timely constraints.

erromango-rti

At the end of each consultation sessions each community what they would want their Member of Parliament (MP) to do when the RTI Bill was tabled in Parliament and a hundred percent (100%) of them agreed that their MP must vote in favor of the RTI Bill because that is what they want.

4The response is similar in all the islands that Transparency International Vanuatu has visited to conduct the RTI Bill community consultations; islands like Vanualava, Malekula, Santo, Ambrym, Pentecost, Ambae, Tanna, Efate Offshore Islands, and several more.

The ongoing RTI Bill community consultations are funded by the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) who supports Transparency International Vanuatu’s work with the Government’s Right to Information (RTI) Unit to raise awareness and promote public interest in the RTI Policy and Bill. PLP’s support has enabled TIV to campaign in communities and schools and host public forums on the RTI Policy and Bill, using its strong networks in the provinces.

RTI Awareness To Be Conducted Around Pentecost Island

OFFICERS FROM TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU will be conducting several community awareness and consultation sessions on the Right To Information (RTI) Bill with several communities around the south of island of Pentecost from the 19th to the 24th of August.

This Pentecost RTI Awareness is the seventh of its kind to be conducted in Vanuatu in partnership with the Governments Right To Information Unit. The islands that have already been visited are the islands of Tanna, Malekula, Santo, Malo, Ambae, and Vanua Lava.

The team from Transparency International Vanuatu will be visiting communities beginning from the south of Pentecost then gradually moving up to the communities in the central part of the island before concluding the program in the north.

The Right To Information Policy was launched by the government in early 2014, thereby forming the basis for the Right To Information Bill to be developed. The RTI Bill was listed to be debated in Parliament in late 2014 but was withdrawn for further revisions, it was listed to be discussed during the First Ordinary Session of Parliament of 2016 but was again withdrawn.

While the officers are there community leaders who wish to have the RTI awareness conducted in their community can conduct Transparency International Vanuatu (Tel: 25715) to identify their locations so that the team can visit them to share information on the contents of the Right To Information Bill.

 

 

Serving For 35 years With No Salary, This Citizen Deserves Recognition.

IT IS STORIES like this that make you realize the true meaning of independence, and why we should have already delivered vital resources to the most remotest parts of Vanuatu;

“This is the first time for me to see the Constitution of Vanuatu” expressed an elder from Tseriviu community who has continued to run his Aid Post at Tseriviu in the Big Bay area of Santo since the early 80’s.

He not only saw the Vanuatu Constitution, but Transparency IMr. Thomas Palonternational Vanuatu (TIV) made sure that he went home with one. His name is Thomas Palo, and he is well over seventy years old but has continued to practice and put his medical skills into good use.

For the isolated communities of Big Bay on the island of Santo Thomas is more than just an ordinary villager, he is a live saver. Though he is clearly well over the retired age Thomas is still strong and continues to address his people’s medical needs.

“When I was still young I studied nursing at the PMH (Paton Memorial Hospital) at Iririki from 1955 to 1957” he recalled. “In 1957 I finished my studies and returned to Big Bay and served under the Presbyterian Church Mission here before I was transferred to go and work under the British Government” he says.

This Citizen Deserves A Medal

He served as a medical provider under the British Government for a good number of years up until the late seventies, “I finished working with British Government in 1977. And in 1981, a year after we achieved independence I started the Aid Post here at Big Bay. Since then, I have served now for 35 years at the Aid Post” he said with an accomplished look on his face.

“I started the Aid Post and I have worked from it until today” he explained. “I have no salary. If I vaccinate you now, you pay me a hundred vatu, and that is all I need. I get my medical supplies from the pharmacy at the Northern District Hospital in Luganville.”

At that point in the conversation another villager came in to confirm that Thomas does not receive any official wages, only the villagers supply him with necessary necessities, “to try and make up for his unpaid years of hard work” he added, “ and yet he continues to help all the people in the area of Big Bay.”

bigbay

Transparency International Vanuatu officers met with Thomas after a Right To Information awareness session that was held at his community in late June 2016. His story is remarkable and shows true independency and a commitment to serve the nation against challenging odds.

THIS CITIZEN DESERVES RECOGNITION, HE DESERVES A MEDAL.

As we move closer towards celebrating Vanuatu’s 36th Independence Anniversary we must also keep in mind that there are hundreds, or if not thousands, of citizens out there who have, and still are, serving the country in their own special ways like Mr. Thomas

 

 

 

 

NGO Workshop on the RTI Bill

OVER 20 REPRESENTATIVES from different NGO’s and Community Associations attended the Right To Information (RTI) Workshop that was held at The Melanesian yesterday the 7th of July.

Representatives from youth groups, church groups, the media and chief and women’s councils attended the workshop. The workshop aimed to familiarize the contents of the Right To Information (RTI) Bill to the participants, and also to answer questions and receive comments from civil society groups on the RTI Bill.

Backup_of_Backup_of_Watermark Master

“I think it is about time that we have this” said the participant. A former senior public servant expressed that “this Bill will help a lot”. He continued to state that “there are a lot of financial inconsistencies that the public are not aware of.”

“I see that this Bill talks about the right information,” said a Pastor from the Assemblies NGO RTI WORKSHOP 1of God Church who attended the workshop, “I am happy with the RTI, it should have come with independence so that it can fight corruption. The Bible says that when you tell the truth you will be set free, therefore I believe that the RTI Bill will enforce our Christian principle and make things better for our country.”

“The mothers of Vanuatu have cried for the Right To Information Bill since the 1980’s,” explained the CEO of the Vanuatu National Women’s Council (VNWC) Mrs. Leias Cullwick, “please get this RTI Bill into parliament immediately”.

NGO RTI WORKSHOP 2

The workshop was organized by Transparency International Vanuatu in partnership with the Government’s Right To Information Unit and the Media Association of Vanuatu.

 

MPs Must Practice Constituency Consultation

“THIS IS THE FIRST TIME that a team has come to inform us, and consult with us, on new laws that are to go to parliament,” confessed a chief who looks after the community of Vureas Bay on Vanua Lava. His revelation brings to light an important question; are your MP’s consulting with you before and after they had participated at a parliamentary sitting? What are the roles of our MP’s?

Unfortunately, there is no specific law in Vanuatu that clearly illustrates the role of an MP. However, there are guided procedures and codes of conducts that provide a guide to what the role of an MP should, and must be.

Read below what the Parliament of Vanuatu has to say about the role of a Member of Parliament; (All details are outlined in the Parliament website)

“What Members of Parliament do? Most Members can thus be viewed as having three roles that of parliamentarian, constituency representative, and party member.”

Furthermore, when “Parliament is sitting (meeting), MPs generally spend their time working in the Parliament. This can include raising issues affecting their constituents, attending debates and voting on new laws.”

“Most MPs are also members of committees, which look at issues in detail, from government policy and new laws, to wider topics like human rights.”

The Parliament website continues to explain that when working in their constituency “Members (MP) provide a direct link between their constituents and the Parliament. In their constituency, MPs often visit their people, where local people can come along to discuss any matters that concern them.”

Again, the Parliament states exactly and clearly what citizens should discuss with their MPs, the people can discuss ‘any matters that concern them’ including laws, community projects, social conflicts, economical activities, opinions, and the list goes on.

Therefore, if your MP visits you to consult, and to gather your opinion, on new laws that are to be discussed in parliament then that is a great job well done, but if your MP is not visiting you to talk about new laws and other matters then you, the voter, must demand it from your MP otherwise you are missing out on an important democratic process.

Reportedly, according to information received from the Parliament the national consultation process could soon be made much easier owing to the rapid advances in Vanuatu’s telecommunication industry. This development would see to it that the Bills listed for debate would be digitally send directly to the MP’s computer, phone, or tablet. This will make it easier for the MP to distribute the Bill to his constituents easier and faster as well as receive the people’s opinion through the same manner.

The Parliament also states that “MPs also attend functions, visit schools and communities and generally try to meet as many people as possible. This gives MPs further insight and context into issues they may discuss when they return to Parliament.”

This information is very important, it explains that MPs must try to meet as many people as possible during their term if office. They are Representatives who must debate and discuss in the interest of those that they represent.

“It is the constituents who pass judgment on the performance of Members of Parliament at each election. Members must prove themselves fit for the task of being their parliamentary representative. All Members who wish to make a long-term commitment to improving the governance of Vanuatu need to be dedicated to serving the interests of their electorates and proving themselves worthy of re-election.”

The Parliament of Vanuatu also provides to each MP a copy of the Vanuatu Parliamentary Handbook. The Handbook outlines the role of a MP among other functions.

The Handbook is a resourceful guide to how things are run in the Parliament. A statement from the Parliament Handbooks explains that the Handbook “is designed to introduce new Parliamentarians, and people planning to be candidates for election to Parliament, to the most fundamental aspects of the job”.

Throughout the awareness tours that were conducted by Transparency International Vanuatu one thing was certain during the discussion of laws and national development; the people want their MPs to do more than just an occasional visit, they want explanation on laws, they need to know how they are governed, and how new laws will affect them.

A Statesman from the Philippines once commented on changes in politics and the need for proper consultation with the people, he said that “our political system needs changing. It needs to move away from personalities and patronage to a system of party programs and consultation with the people.”

Simply, if a single MP cannot do it by himself, then the party that he is affiliated with has to support him to implement a constituency consultation program.