TIV hosts first “Lunch and Learn” in Ministry of Youth and Sports Development

TIV Chairman Joe Kalo ©, Douglas Tamara, TIV Community Advocacy Officer (l) and on right is TIV CEO Dr. Willie Tokon.

Transparency Vanuatu (TIV) appeals for individual as well as company support to prompt transparent flow of information against corruption to reach out to all four corners of the country.

“Please support Transparency Vanuatu to fight against corruption and stop it from gaining a permanent foothold in the country”.

TIV Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Willie Tokon, made the appeal during a “Lunch and Learn” program, the first of its kind to be hosted by TIV in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development on Tuesday this week.

The call has rekindled a traditional concern which was first raised in a press conference by a former Government Cabinet Minister against corruption. In this comment, the former Cabinet Minister allegedly that corruption was practiced by senior public servants, including Directors and Directors General.

The former Minister compared the cycle of decision makers as akin to a “small Government” which functioned under the umbrella of the National Government.

He complained of alleged nepotism even in the way scholarships were allocated to students and employment opportunities in the Department of Public Service.

In TIV’s first ever “Lunch and Learn” initiative, the CEO explained to the Senior Officers of the Ministry to encourage “whistle blower(s)” to come forward and keep the Government clean of corruption.

The CEO discouraged the fear of dismissal of civil servants for telling the truth, pointing out that it is illegal to dismiss a civil servant who is committed to keeping the Government transparent in its operations. The TIV CEO went on to stress, “ it is important to note that the Right To Information Act protects whistle-blowers”.

Despite the challenges it faces in its operation, he spoke highly of the work of his staff who travel up and down the archipelago to meet the public to talk to them in their villagers, in their market houses or nakamals.

“It is clear from the people we have met and answered their questions, that there is a huge hunger for right information in our rural communities”.

“Surprisingly, even here in urban Port Vila, we have found out that 80 percent of residents of the Capital do not know anything about the Government Budget”, Dr. Tokon said. He went on to stress that in this day and age, information is powerful and people have access to information so that they can make informed decisions. TIV has made the commitment to provide information to the people in the villages throughout Vanuatu.

TIV was established in Port Vila in 2001 and is a part of the Berlin-based Transparency International Organisation which was born in Germany.

TIV Advocate Douglas Tamara reminded civil servants to always uphold their integrity in all that they say and do. “Whatever you say or do also touches your family, relatives, chief, community, church and island so TIV wants to help you to recognise and speak out against what is corruption”, he told his listeners.

“Whatever you say or how you behave will impact your Department and Ministry and Government so it is most important that you look before you leap”.

This is one of TIV’s latest Programmes which has involved sending 40 invitations to companies and Government Ministries for “yumi spel smol mo yumi storian”with lunch and learn.

As the sender of the letters of invitation, Tamara urges all recipients to reply to the letters at their earliest convenience. TIV will come to your site, talk about TIV work and help you improve your work and your company’s output.

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