National Convention Centre handover ceremony Friday; Aust lawyers to represent convicted politicians

Convention Centre during construction. Photo: portvilatoday

The National Convention Centre in Port Vila while under construction. Photo: portvilatoday

The big news in all media is now the handing over of the Convention Centre being scheduled for Friday. The often maligned Convention Centre, which seemed to be predicated on the wished for success of the Rentabau airport scheme, may well be timely now, given the present government’s determination to make tourism successful. We have to staff it properly: not so difficult with the increased training in high level tourism-related activities. But we must not forget we have to maintain it professionally, unlike that previous superb Chinese gift—the Korman stadium built for the 1993 mini games—on the foundations of which the Chinese are again building a stadium for us for the 2017 games here.

Then Saturday sees the decommissioning of the Prime Minister’s Office at the former French Residency buildings, followed by a pig killing to mark the re-building works for the new Prime Minister’s Office. The Chinese Ambassador will be present for both big occasions. Daily Post today carries an excellent front page photo of the splendid interior of the Convention Centre.

Foreign lawyers are to assist in the conspiracy case involving the jailed politicians and bribery. Daily Post reports today that the MPs will be represented by local lawyer George Boar who will be joined by Michael Pearce and Rose Cameron who were given temporary admission this week. With daily fees starting at A$5,000 for senior barristers in Australia (Vt400,000), the jailed politicians may need deep pockets to afford the minimum Vt24 million needed to pay for the Australian lawyers’ services. Three lawyers for the MPs earlier turned State witnesses.

Vaum Junior Secondary School on Paama will participate in the introduction of the new varieties of kumala which have resulted from the work of the research centre on Santo. Vaum School will pilot the introduction of the 13 new hybrids. There are also new techniques for the planting and management of the species. (Radio Vanuatu)

Daily Post has this week reported the President’s awarding the medal of honour to Dr Gerald Haberkorn who first came to work in Vanuatu in March 1982. He worked in several islands of Vanuatu, especially Paama and Pentecost and subsequently undertook regional work for the SPC which he is now leaving as the Director for the Statistics Division, in June.

Members of the Butterfly Trust are visiting houses to talk about building stronger houses in the light of the experience of Cyclone Pam. They have been holding awareness sessions at Pango on Efate and are now going to Malekula. They see much value in the traditional house design used in the making of natangura dwellings and will be talking about this in Malampa. (Radio Vanuatu)

Really good news today in Daily Post for the capital describes the first ever proper town drainage system being installed under the Urban Development Project of Australia, Vanuatu and the Asian Development Bank. The 10kms of road from Manples to downtown and from the wharf road to the USP roundabout, as well as 15km of suburban roads, will be properly drained henceforth.

Really bad news for Vanuatu today in Daily Post is the National Cultural Council operating with an 11 million vatu debt. Unlawful terminations and the unlawful council of the former government have cost the nation dearly. The Director of the VNCC announced that “the way forward for the institution is to have a proper organisational structure.” He confirmed that this is near completion.