Solomons Vendors Allegedly Unpaid Due To Unforeseen Costs

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Arts festival disadvantaged by budget ‘slashed’ by government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 4, 2012) – The Permanent Secretary for the Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture and Tourism says this year’s Festival of Pacific Arts ran over budget because of costs that weren’t in the original plan.

Hundreds of contractors are awaiting payment following the July event, which is held every four years in a different Pacific Island country and funded by that country’s government.

John Walton Wasi says the government slashed the festival’s original budget but then the Ministry had to meet unexpected costs such as the setting up of some of the satellite venues.

"As you know the satellite venues also ran on shortfalls so we have to pay extra budgets. We have to increase security. We also have advice from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission to build more facilities, especially the toilets and the facilities around the village," Wasi says.

John Walton Wasi says the contractors will be paid if parliament passes a supplementary budget next week and he is confident that it will go through.

He says once all payments have been made, auditors will begin examining the festival’s accounts.

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