Individual groups and politicians are prohibited from organising the 39th Independence Anniversary celebrations this year.
Minister for Internal Affairs and Decentralization policy, who has been tasked to head the 39th anniversary celebrations, Andrew Napuat, has made this clear.
He advises all citizens that given the Government’s policy on decentralization, this year (2019), the Government will not allow individual groups or politicians to host celebrations.
The Government only allows Area Councils, Ward Councils, Provincial and Municipalities to host Independence celebrations — within Provinces and Municipalities.
“In line with the message of preparation, I would like to call on every national leader from government, ministers, MPs, chiefs, church leaders, community leaders and every citizen to throw away the dividing political barriers we had, the forms of divisions we had, the weaknesses we had and refocus our attention on unity and nation building,” said Minister Napuat.
For this 39th Anniversary, the Independence Committee will be organizing and giving out small financial support to provinces to host their celebrations.
Minister Napuat is encouraging and requesting every leader to stop political celebrations and encourage people to come together for one celebration per area council for the provinces and islands.
“Politicians often used celebrations to make donations, make huge cash handouts and divide people so that a celebration is attributed to an MP or leader who gives the biggest donation for that celebration,” he said.
“I do not want this to happen in the 39th Independence Anniversary celebration. If politicians want to host celebrations, they do their celebration on another month and time. This year, we want the Provinces, Municipalities, and Area Councils to form their committees, then request their councilors, MPs, Ministers, Business Houses etc.… to participate.
“We do not wish to see Celebrations carrying names of politicians or any other person, we want this to be a national day celebrations and it will be the people who will host their celebrations in a united manner where all people, churches, political parties and any other backgrounds will come together to participate in only one celebration either at provincial, area council or municipal council.”
The minister said politicians must support the unity of the people in this year’s celebration and not to give out excessive cash donations to host celebrations in different villages or sporting venues to divide people at area council, provincial or municipal levels.
“This is not just another holiday or political day, it is a National Day,” Minister Napuat stressed.
“It comes only once every year and we should give it its true significance and meaning.”
He said the independence celebration should be a time where the people of Vanuatu convene together “to demonstrate our unity and solidarity that make us who we are, a nation, a time to reflect together on our journey during the last 39 years, the weak areas that we need to improve on, how to prepare our people as we journey together towards 2020”.
“It should be a time of reflection; the people need to reflect and see themselves in a meaningful way,” Minister Napuat said.
“Individuals need to evaluate themselves and see their strengths, their weaknesses and what they can do to build our nation.
“We have been criticizing and complaining for the last 39 years like the Children of Israel in the wilderness complaining and criticizing for 39 years and God did not allow many of them to see promise land including Moses.
“Until the people stop complaining, stop dividing, stop criticizing, and return to God, we can never enter the new destiny for Vanuatu (our Promised Land, our promised future). God will raise the Joshua’s generation to lead this nation to a better future, a promised future.
“This is an important call for unity, for collaboration, for reflection, evaluating ourselves and asking deeper questions on whether we are positively contributing to Vanuatu’s development.”
The Minister reflected that in one of his statements in parliament, he had appealed for unity and asked this question – ‘which part of Vanuatu does the Opposition look after and which part of Vanuatu does the government look after?’
“There is no part of Vanuatu that belongs to either the government side or the opposition side,” he said.
“We all have a duty to look after our people and our nation and it is this mutual responsibility that we all need to play our part in unity to build our nation stronger and stronger.
“Let this year’s celebration be a time of unity, reflection and preparation as we journey towards 2020.
“May God bless the people and the nation of Vanuatu, long live the Republic of Vanuatu”.
Internal Affairs Minister Napuat, who is at the helm of the 39th Independence Anniversary celebrations, made the remarks ahead of the 2019 independence celebrations.