Tourism industry alarmed by lack of progress on airport upgrade as World Bank strengthens partnership with Govt

An architectural rendering of the proposed new terminal building for Bauerfield International Airport.

An architectural rendering of the proposed new terminal building for Bauerfield International Airport.

The tourism sector is alarmed by delays in the announcement of the successful bidder for the upgrade of Bauerfield international airport. Tourism operators have complained that there is still no decision two months after tenders closed. Of particular concern, they say, is the diminishing possibility of enticing Air New Zealand to return prior to the travel season and to have Qantas to resume its codeshare with Air Vanuatu. The tourism industry blames the runway delays. Everyone hopes for valuable advice from the World Bank. (Daily Post)

In related news, a new partnership agreement reached between Government and the World Bank. The bank is now establishing its own office in Port Vila. The World Bank’s Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Victoria Kwakwa was in Vanuatu for the signing. The World Bank is providing the funding for the planned Bauerfield airport upgrade. (Radio Vanuatu)

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai last week gave a moving speech at the National Convention Centre a week ago marking his Government’s first year in office. He listed the achievements of the coalition partners working together to give the 300,000 inhabitants of Vanuatu what they need to improve their lives. “We were elected democratically by the people and our aim is to serve the people, by the people and for the people,” said PM Salwai. The best reporting of what the Prime Minister’s speech comes from Gratien Molsoul in last weekend’s Independent.

Many of the objectives of the 100 Day Plan had been achieved, the PM stated, such as the extension of the coverage of national radio to all provinces. Transfer of responsibility for Vanuatu’s police force from the PM’s portfolio to the Ministry of Home Affairs was highlighted as another achievement, along with the revision of contracts for Directors General and the revision of the structure of the public service. Some 287 civil servants have been properly retired and 347 are now on a waiting list. “They must be thanked with the appropriate ‘envelope’ for their fidelity and service to the state”, said PM Salwai.

The PM also spoke of the need for university graduates who have been supported by Government during their studies to be offered every chance of employment in the public service on completion of their studies. PM Salwai also underlined the investment in the infrastructure provided by road projects on Tanna, Malekula and in the capital. He stated his determination to see these commitments honoured. Plans are already in place for this year’s listing of priorities, PM Salwai promised.

Long-serving Ni-Vanuatu francophone journalist Jean-Baptiste Ramwel has passed away after a long illness. Ramwel began writing for Radio Vila and the French Residency back in the 1970s. (The Independent)