Voters Raise Voices OverLong Distance To Polling Station

ON THURSDAY THE 23rd of March voters from the Vanuatu provinces of MALAMPA, PENAMA, SHEFA and TAFEA took to the polling stations to cast their votes.

On that day a Transparency International Vanuatu Team was traveling around the island of Tanna conducting community awareness’s on the Right To Information Law.

Some of the voters that were spoken to described the distances that they had to walk to vote as “tiring, but it is our duty to elect our leaders.”

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One voter from the Polling Station of Launalang Primary School in North Tanna explained that the long distances was just one little part of the hard work they do every time there is an election, “we wake up early in the morning, around two or three o’clock, and begin our journey to the polling station. We walk for around three to four hours to reach our destination.”

“When both parents come to vote they also have to bring all their children, including the elderly. This means that they have to cook their lunch very early in the morning so that they can eat together under a shade somewhere near the polling station.”

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“After lunch they do not go home yet. They want to hear the Unofficial Results, so they have to wait till the polling station closes its door at around four or five in the evening, and then around six the Unofficial Results will come out. And by the time they get home, which would take again another three hours, it would be around nine or ten o’clock at night.”

Voters who walk long distances claim that they have the capacity and resources to conduct electoral voting processes at their own villages, “we can operate our own polling stations that is nearer to those of us that are living in the remote areas if the authorities approve of it, we have the capacity and the resources,” said a voter from North Tanna.

The elections on Tanna run smoothly with no major disturbances.

Below are a few photos of that day.

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“Thank You For Our Right To Information” – Tanna Island.

“Thank you for the Right To Information Law” are the words that are highlighting Transparency International Vanuatu’s (TIV) travels throughout the island of Tanna.

Informing people along the roads of South East Tanna.

“Thank you to the Government and the MP’s for passing the Right To Information Law,” expressed the Chief of Bethel community,”a lot has been said by politicians on what they plan to do, but so little has been done. This law will help know of their progress.”

At every village that the TIV Team visited there was a round of applause before further information on the implementation phases of the RTI Law was delivered to them.

Informing the Tribal Chiefs of Middle Bush, Tanna Island.

“This is different from other awarenesses” explains TIV Advocacy Officer Douglas Tamara.”They applaud our visit because they took part in the consultation process of the RTI Bill before it became law. They supported the RTI Bill, and they said that their MP’S must support the RTI Bill because that is what their people want. And now that the RTI Bill has moved to become Right To Information Law they are very grateful for having been involved in the law making process.”

Informing people along the roads we travel – Tanna Island.

This rider was informed on his way to the garden.

Kwamera Primary School.

Bethel Community.

Informing the community leaders of Isaka Village.

“Thank you for our right to information. On behalf of the mothers we are grateful, because  we would like to know how our fees at the Lenakel Market House is being used to develop the market” said a women leader at Lenakel.
The TIV Team is expected to visited several communities before returning to Port Vila this Saturday.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.

TIV Ready To Conduct RTI Awareness Around Tanna Island

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU will be conducting several public awareness programs on the Right To Information (RTI) on the island of Tanna from 21st to the 28th of February, also participating is the Right To Information Unit who will have an officer join the TIV Team on Tanna Island.

In preparation for this tour a site visit was conducted by two TIV officers in early February to identify potentials communities and venues that could host the public awareness program. The two officers also visited the TAFEA Provincial Headquarters on Tanna to assist in identifying the communities.

The TIV Civic Education Coordinator, Mr. Douglas Tamara, said that according to the site visit TIV will be conducting awareness on several different schools, villages and provincial Institutions on the island of Tanna.

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“On the 21st of February we will be visiting Bethel village, then on the 22nd we will be going to the Lenakel Presbyterian College, the Lenakel main Market and also Tafea College as well,” Mr. Tamara said.

Mr. Tamara continued to say that “on the 23rd there will be an RTI forum held at the Provincial Chamber from 9 o’clock in the morning till lunch time where there will be light refreshments available for everyone. And then in the afternoon the team will be visiting Isangel College”.

Mr. Tamara also confirmed that on the 24th – 27th February the team will be visiting the outer communities on the south, south east, north, north east and the central part of Tanna.

The Secretary General for Tafea Province, Mr. Reynold Surmat, including the heads of the colleges to be visited acknowledged Transparency International Vanuatu for the task they will be carrying out in Tanna to widen the knowledge of people about the right to information.

Tafea SG Mr. Reynolds acknowledged the TIV members for visiting them and talking to

Mr. Reynold Surmat SG for TAFEA Province,

TAFEA SG, Mr. Reynolds Surmat.

them about the importance of RTI awareness and RTI forum which will help people understand and contribute ideas to the drafting of the RTI bill.

The right to information means that any person or organization has a legally recognized right to request and obtain information, subject to limited exceptions, from public and in some instances private bodies performing public functions.

An RTI policy was launched in 2013 and it commits the government to release information Banner 1to the public. Eventually, an RTI bill is currently being draft and the next step is for that bill to get approval into parliament and to be voted in to become a law of Vanuatu.

The right to information seeks to promote openness, transparency and accountability in
the functioning of every public authority. It supports and protects human rights and makes citizens a part of decision making. And most importantly it is a tool to reduce corruption in Vanuatu.

Individuals have the right to access and correct all personal information held by public and private bodies about themselves.

The right to information is important as it is: the foundation for the development of a nation; a symbol for open society; the key means to achieve good governance;  promotes openness, transparency and accountability in the functions of every public authority; reduces corruption; support and protect human rights; make citizens part of decision making; and strengthen the foundation of democracy.

WATCH: Right To Information Awareness on the island of Santo.

 

 

1000 Constitution Books For Tanna

THIS TIME NEXT WEEK Transparency International Vanuatu will have already distributed 1000 constitution books in the Bislama language in several communities and schools around the island of Tanna. The constitution books were translated into Bislama by Transparency International Vanuatu and have been in distribution since 2013.

In November of 2015 when officers from TIV visited Santo they gave away over 500 constitutions books to members of the public in Luganville. They also distributed more books to the community of Port Olry in east Santo and Mavunlep village in south Santo.

The TIV Team that will be leaving for Tanna on Sunday the 21st and will return to Port Vila on the 28th February, and they aim to return with empty boxes. Transparency International Vanuatu believes that the information contained in a document such as the national constitution should be available to every citizen.

TIV believes that a well-informed citizen can be able to participate more effectively in nation building.

For more information regarding constitution books please contact the Transparency International Vanuatu office at; 25715. TIV officers are also available to conduct short awareness programs in any requesting community surrounding the contents of the national constitution and the ideals behind it.

                                                         WATCH: Voter Awareness