CEO Dr Tokon says Government has to listen


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) has highlighted the agendas for the upcoming Asia Pacific Chapters Meeting in Bangkok.

“One important topic for Transparency Chapters of Vanuatu, Solomons, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Australia and New Zealand and every other country chapter, is for everyone to speak with one voice on issues that matter to them all,” TIV CEO Dr Willie Tokon said before departing yesterday to attend the meeting from June 19-23.

“When we talk about corruption or money laundering, it reflects across the board.

“At this meeting, the main topics for discussion are Youth Involvement, Inclusiveness and Gender Equality. We will also ensure that we increase our profile in the Pacific.”

Asked what TIV will have to tell the Government and people on his return at the end of next week, the CEO said while TIV is grateful to the Government for speaking against corruption, what the meeting will push to agree on is for every Chapter to speak with one voice against corruption, bribery and all other forms of illegal activities which are known to be practiced by Government Leaders in particular for personal gain, leaving their voters out in the cold.

“It means that going forward from now on, our Leaders must listen to us because our Chapters are getting their acts together to speak with one voice so Governments must listen to what we say,” CEO Tokon said.

The Meeting will dwell on the Asia Pacific Project from 2020 – 2023, which is nearing its completion and the way forward, which is from 2024 – 2027.

TIV has formed an increasing number of partnerships and has made positive impact in many communities throughout the six Provinces of Vanuatu. “Our outreach activities have confirmed that many instances of correct and up-to-date important information, have not reached those communities that need them until we deliver it to them”, the CEO said.

“We have already completed an assessment up to 2027, which is a requirement. Our success stories carried by the media, have been compiled and this meeting will dwell on the success stories too.

“The meeting will focus on the work of the Ombudsman, Right To Information (RTI) Law, and FIU and Audit Departments and how TIV can develop close working partnerships with them.

It will be attended by all chapters in Asia and the Pacific, to approve in general the way forward for the next four years.

“One of the important challenges faced by Vanuatu is our young people whose numbers are increasing and as they are the leaders of tomorrow, it is our duty to stress to them those good life values now on which to build for them and their communities,” the CEO explained.

“We want to see development and not corruption, favoritism or nepotism. Instead we want to see positive development to support inclusivity, everybody in the community. This means men, women, boys and girls and children including the elderly generation and those with disability in all its form.

“Gender is still an issue in Vanuatu.

“A husband may go to jail for beating his wife. But we have no statistics on how many women are beaten every day. How many wives are beaten to death by drunken husbands remains an issue. How many girls lose their lives annually and how many high school girls commit suicide every year?

“And just as important, Vanuatu may be the last place in the world with only one female MP, while Samoa has a female Prime Minister. “For Vanuatu, this means women hardly have any involvement in the political development of the country. It seems like politics is a man’s game.

“For this reason, this time TIV is committed to take the message to the students in all schools throughout the country, to prepare them to contribute towards filling the current political void when they qualify at 18-years old to exercise their right to vote to elect women candidates into power.

“Everybody must be able to decide on how to contribute towards the betterment of Vanuatu.”