Ni-Vanuatu nationals with friends of Vanuatu gathered in Honiara to mark this milestone event in their country’s political history at the national museum grounds on Saturday.
Prior to independence in 1980, the country was jointly administered by both Britain and France under the name New Hebrides and was later renamed Vanuatu at Independence.
The legacy of the join administration by both Britain and France is still present today in Vanuatu, which maintains both English and French as official languages in schools.
The country’s road to Independence was not smooth compared to the Solomon Islands as it began with a rebellion against colonial administration prior to Independence.
Vice-Chairman of the VanSol Association, Rocky Tuku said the people of Vanuatu are proud of their political history, which is a reminder to the young generation of ni-Vans to stand together as one people even during hard times such as the COVID-19 period.
Mr. Tuku acknowledged the Solomon Islands Government and people for being a wonderful host to their nationals who are residing and working in the Solomon Islands.
“We are one people of Melanesia and your hospitality to our nationals will always be treasured,” Mr. Tuku said.
Mr. Tuku also reminded his fellow ni-Vans to always be good ambassadors of Vanuatu in Solomon Islands and to respect the laws and cultures of their host country.
According to the Vice President, Vanuatu’s governance system is founded on mutual respect and understanding between Politics, Culture and Religion, which are the three, pillars that form the foundation of the country.
The VanSol Association Committee also expressed gratitude to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for allowing the Museum Grounds to host the celebration.
Representing the Solomon Islands Government as the guest of honour at the celebration was Director of Culture Dennis Marita who congratulated the Government and People of Vanuatu on their 40th Independence Anniversary.
“I stand on behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands and as a friend of Vanuatu people to congratulate you on your important and historic occasion. I wish the people of Vanuatu every success in your development aspirations and cooperation with Solomon Islands,” Mr. Marita said.
Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are the two remaining Melanesian countries that remain COVID-19 free.