Contracts signed for Bauerfield airport runway, Port Vila roads repair; Pentecost election petition; VBTC labour dispute

Port Vila International airport

Port Vila International airport. Photo: Pascal Alick

Some timely news considering Michael Field’s article we published earlier about the deplorable state of many Pacific airports: the New Zealand contractor Fulton Hogan has been awarded the contract for the urgently needed work at Bauerfield International Airport under an emergency procurement process provided for by the World Bank. New PM Charlot Salwai has
regarded the undertaking as a top priority. The contract is valued at USD1,237,766 and expected to be completed within 56 days. Fulton will mobilise in the coming days, with completion 6 April.

The Australian company RMS Engineering and Construction Pty Ltd has won the urban roads project for the capital which will see to much needed drainage and signage improvements along with road renovation. An Australian grant and a loan from the Asian Development Bank of USD39.1 million will achieve the completion of a task which has already begun at Fatumauru Bay.

Tropical cyclone Winston was at the centre of cyclone tracking map square K 10 around 2 this morning, 155 km east of Aneityum. The central pressure was around 950hPa. Rough seas and heavy rain were expected in southern Tafea.

An election petition has been lodged at the Supreme Court by Dr Richard Leona. He is calling for a re-count of the vote in Pentecost. There was a difference of only 8 votes between his total and that of Ham Lini of the National United Party for the fourth seat. No date has been set yet for the hearing.

A labour dispute has broken out at VBTC with staffers Antoine Malsungai and Yvette Tevear suspended. The Board has sided with management against which a complaint was made.