In the public opinion assembling conducted by the Vanuatu Daily Post this week on communication on the upcoming National Referendum, citizens expressed major concerns about the need for more clear explanations.

The interviews, conducted yesterday at Seafront, yielded varied opinions from seven individuals, shedding light on the prevailing confusion surrounding the referendum.

Joe Pupu, a concerned citizen from Port Vila, is frustrated by the lack of clarity surrounding the upcoming referendum. He admitted he doesn’t fully understand what a referendum is and believes the government should provide clearer explanations. Pupu emphasises the importance of transparency in such processes to ensure every citizen can make informed decisions.

Mark Toa, another resident of Port Vila, shared Pupu’s concerns. He is also confused about the referendum and urges the government to offer more detailed explanations. Toa believes that without a clear understanding, citizens cannot actively participate in the democratic process, which undermines its credibility.

John Henly, who just arrived on a vessel yesterday, voiced his concern about the lack of information dissemination regarding the national referendum. He argued that discussions about the referendum seem to be limited to urban centers like Port Vila, leaving people in remote areas uninformed. Henly emphasised that the referendum should be accessible to all citizens, regardless of their location, and calls for a concerted effort to spread awareness nationwide.

Mary Avilu supported Henly’s viewpoint, stressing that the referendum concerns the entire nation, not just the capital city. She emphasised the need for comprehensive awareness campaigns to reach citizens in remote areas and ensure their participation in the democratic process. Avilu urged the government to prioritise inclusive communication strategies to bridge the information gap.

David Joy, a concerned citizen from the West Coast of Santo, raises the issue of the timing of the referendum. He believes that May 29 is too soon and that there hasn’t been enough time for citizens, especially those in remote areas, to fully grasp its concept and significance. Joy suggested that the government should organise workshops in provinces and provide educational resources to facilitate a better understanding among the general public.

Rachel Mira echoed David’s concerns, emphasising the need for extensive awareness campaigns beyond urban centers. She argued that rushing the referendum without ensuring widespread understanding could undermine its legitimacy. Mira urged the government to allocate resources for outreach programs and educational initiatives to ensure that every citizen comprehends the implications of their vote.

Michael Tamata, a thoughtful citizen, commented on the importance of informed decision-making in democratic processes.

He acknowledged the value of referendums but stressed that without a clear understanding of what is being voted on, the legitimacy of the entire process is called into question. Tamata urged the government to prioritise educational efforts to ensure that citizens fully grasp the significance of the referendum before casting their votes. He believes that an informed electorate is essential for upholding the principles of democracy.