Consultation is by the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition is a meeting to discuss something or get advice.

According to the Free Dictionary Public consultation, is a “regulatory process by which the public’s input on matters affecting them is sought. Its main goals are in improving the efficiency, transparency and public involvement in large-scale projects or laws and policies. It usually involves notification (to publicise the matter to be consulted on), consultation (a two-way flow of information and opinion exchange) as well as participation (involving interest groups in the drafting of policy or legislation).”

There would appear to be a great variation of different types of public consultations. In some countries there is a list of all consultations, or consultations are mentioned in normal news feed. Depending on the country there can be national or regional public consultations.

In Vanuatu we have at the moment what is called Ineffective consultations which are considered to be cosmetic consultations that is being done due to an obligation or show to the people however it is not a true participatory for the people of Vanuatu in the decision making process of one of the most impacting and potential economically and socially dysfunctional changes to our Revenue collection ever seen.

This inadequacy in the current consultation process is both highlighted and exacerbated with the comments made recently by the PRO, who tried to censure both myself and Opposition Leader, Ishmael Kalsakau regarding comments that were made and issues that have been raised. Trying to shut me down is ok, fair game i would suggest after all i am just an announcer with a Pen and a Column. However the Opposition Leader has a duty to both his constituents and that of the Opposition Bloc. What right has the PRO to demand they stand down on the grounds the people did not mandate him/them to represent them on the current tax issue. How could they, no one was to know about the proposed new tax as in No one knew As far as I know there is not one budding Nostradamus in our communities.

The current debate needs to actively listen to both sides and work out a solution to the current debt problem the country is facing. From the dialogue I have had with many people from many walks of life a new or increased tax is inevitable. What is not wanted is, as a result of naivety and ignorance being saddled with a tax system that simply creates more poverty, divides the community and increase the cost of living and stops any further economic growth.

That is what the current Tax plan will do. What we have been proposing for them to consider will earn up to three times more in revenue, is easy to implement, won’t increase the cost of living, be absorbed by the community and as our country grows and our economy grows so will our revenue base. None of us are perfect nor are we going to get it right first time but if we work together then we can arrive at a solution that really works for us here in Vanuatu. So instead of getting angry with people and swearing at people who have an opinion and want to be heard for the betterment of Vanuatu lets respect each other and our input, value what is being put down, work with us all and make it a better place on what we know is right not what we have been told by outside influences to be so. You don’t have to believe me, go to the Revenue Review Website and read for yourself the propaganda that is being laid down. If you think that it will raise the money they alleged and they can deliver on what is promised then let us all know so we can get behind it. You all have a say, let yourself be heard.

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