The people of Vanuatu must be given the freedom to make their own decisions.

Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) stressed the importance of the above on the matter of campaigning for “YES” and “NO” votes, along with providing awareness to the people in the approaching National Referendum.

The people of Vanuatu have power in their hands. They must exercise this power by coming forward and voting during this coming Referendum. For this decision to be made, the citizens and especially people in the rural areas must:

• Know the current part of the National Constitution that needs to be changed,

• Know the proposed changes to be voted on,

• Know the implications of voting “yes” or “no”.

For this referendum to be of value, every citizen of Vanuatu who is eligible to vote must be reached and educated on these three issues. Anything less is just corruption, bribery a political game by people in power or people with big resources. Then it cannot be a true wish of the people.

Currently, there are Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers and political groups campaigning for people to vote “YES” or “NO”. People must be given the right information so that they can make their own educated and informed decisions.

In the immediate past four (4) years TIV staff and volunteers have visited rural communities and some remote areas in Vanuatu to provide awareness on corruption and its effects on the society, human rights, good governance and other social issues.

People in these areas see Government officials and politicians once every four years. Yes, during national elections campaign period. These people had never saw a copy of the Vanuatu National Constitution before the visit by Transparency Vanuatu staff.

TIV is calling on the Government of the day, leaders and stakeholders to support independent organisations like the members of Vanuatu Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (VANGO) to reach out to the people of Vanuatu, both urban and rural, educate them on the issues involved in this referendum and give them the power to make an informed choice.

“Yesterday, on the front page of our only Daily Newspaper, we read about a call for campaign to educate the citizens of this great country Vanuatu and give them the power to make their own educated and informed decision,” TIV stated.

“When we say that the power is with the people/voters, we must respect and mean it. Transparency Vanuatu hopes that there will be official monitors to deter any preferential treatment to classes of voters or threats to voters presumed to vote differently. Let us vote freely with complete understanding of our decisions and actions.

“Let us say ‘NO’ to corruption.”

Transparency Vanuatu wants to see every citizen of Vanuatu reached and educated before 29 May, 2024. We cannot leave anyone behind.