While Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) has been focusing on Corruption, Transparency, Integrity, Fairness, and bribery, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Willie Tokon, is extremely concerned that the trend of community violence by groups of young people as well as individuals is on the rise, particularly in Blandinier Estate, Seven Star, Fresh Water, and Malapoa Estate.

Police have confirmed in their column in Daily Post on April 27 of an increase to 49 cases in the last two weeks.

Following the latest police report, the CEO is calling on all relevant leaders in all suburbs of Port Vila to unite to speak out against such disrespectful and illegal behavior.

In the latest example, only two days ago, an elderly man was walking along a Seven Star road between five and six when an eyewitness reported a teenage boy punching the poor man in the face.

The eye witness said the assault caused the man to fall down with blood where he was punched. “Our vehicle stopped and my colleagues and I gave chase and caught the boy. One of my colleagues stopped us from roughing him up saying he will deal with him saying he knows him”, the eye witness said.

“While we do not know why he punched the kava-ed old man but we suspected he might have asked him for money or a cigarette but did not get what he wanted.

“The victim’s wife was shocked and stood there, crying for her husband”.

This kind of behavior is not normal and cannot be allowed to continue unchecked. Whether it is due to alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs, there is no excuse for this sort of behavior.

“I believe that what we are seeing today is left unreported most probably because eyewitnesses

are either afraid for their own safety or because they are related to the assailants”, the CEO said.

“But the reality is that when the eyewitnesses do not report such matters, then they become contributors to the crimes committed.

“We must start to take responsibility over our communities to promote good behavior, love, and unity, to ensure that we report all forms of criminal behavior when we see one. That is our Citizen’s responsibility.

“Use your mobile to pictures for evidence and report the incidents immediately to the police because there is no other way”.

The CEO said all community leaders must unite and organize community meetings with all young people in the community to attend, to make sure that all incidents of violence against elderly people, women, girls, and children are effectively addressed.

In another latest example involving an elderly man, a young troublemaker harassed him in Blandier Estate. The targeted man went on FaceBook to disclose his intention when he was pushed by his assailant. “He did not know that while he was disturbing me, I immediately pushed my hand into my pocket and gripped the handle of my pocket knife. I was waiting. Had he assaulted me he might have got the shock of his life as I was ready to defend myself”, he confirmed.

In conclusion, the CEO wishes to advise all responsible leaders and parents to act now against community violence as elderly people and women alone are arming themselves with knives.

TIV does not want to hear of any unnecessary injuries or even the death of a victim inflicted by an elderly person in self-defense.