9 Jul 2004

Watchdog disappointed it was not given a greater involvement in Vanuatu election observers group

3:35 pm on 9 July 2004

The Vanuatu chapter of the anti-corruption group, Transparency International, says their expertise should have been sought when an international observer group was put together to monitor this week's elections.

The Ombudsman's Office organised this year's monitors and due on personnel from the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Pacific Islands Forum and the University of South Pacific.

Transparency International was brought in to the process only on the eve of the election.

A spokesman, Julie Hawkes, says it is disappointing that Transparency was not more involved given it has organised the previous monitoring groups and compiled reviews on that work.

"bearing in mind that we had already produced two reports on the elections in Vanuatu it would have been wiser to have contacted us, to at least get our expertise on what has happened in the past. It was until just before the elections - 4.30 on the afternoon before the election that the first meeting was held with all the people actually involved"