Standing on the exact spot where the Constitution of the Republic was signed and made official 32 years ago, Head of State, President Iolu Abbil recalled the importance of the Constitution saying it is something “we should be proud of”.
While many may have spent yesterday’s Public Holiday (October 5) as an opportunity to engage in odd jobs at home, the President reminded invited guests and the small crowd that turned up outside the Former Parliament House of the importance of the Constitution to the independent Republic of Vanuatu.
“Annually, this ceremony is to remember this important historic event when Vanuatu signed its constitution.
“We can also regard the signing of the constitution on the 5th of October 1979 as the first ever important and historic national achievement of this country.
“If there is no constitution there could not be any Independence, and there will be no government of Vanuatu and its institution.
“It is important that the Country must properly educate the younger generation to acknowledge, appreciate, and respect national historic events that are part of the foundation of this country.
“This respect is very important for the over-all stability and Unity of this nation.
“The constitution which we remember today also marks the breakthrough by the people of Vanuatu to achieve their freedom. Today Vanuatu enjoys freedom as an independent nation.”
The Head of State also reminded the nation that the founding fathers of the Constitution must not be forgotten, even those who have passed away.
Out of the 31-member signatories of the Constitution, 17 have passed away namely Pere Gerard Leymang, Dr Father Walter Hadye Lini, Michel Bernast, George Kaltoi Singari Kalsakau, Jack Kalotrip Kalotiti, Aime Malere, Walter Tulangi Maneal, Mrs. Grace Mera Molisa, John Naupa, Guy (Gidu) Prevot, Chief Ringiau, Thomas Rueben Seru, Onnyen Morris Tahigogona, Morrison Thompson Tangarasi, Pastor Fred Karlomoana Timakata, Louis (Lulu) Vatu, and Chief Willie Bongmatur Maldo.
Those yet alive include Mrs. Madelaine Kalchichi Bakokoto, Maxime Carlot Korman, Mr. Barak Tame Sope Maautamate, Chief Jean-Marie Leye Manatawai, Donald Kalpokas Masikevanua, Kalkot Mataskelekele Mauliliu, Chief Molitasetamata, Joe Natuman, Pastor Sethy John Regenvanu, Ati George Sokomanu, Mr. George Pakoa Tarimanu, Chief Tom Tipoloamata, Chief Vincent Boulekone Viresanibo, and Father George Augustus Worek.
Abbil said these founding fathers have to be remembered for the hard work to write the constitution of Vanuatu.
Signed two years before the Country gained its independence from Britain and France, the Constitution laid the foundations of which the Republic is governed.