State Drops Plan To Relocate Vanuatu

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Convention Center
Relocation proposed mainly to preserve Parliament Park space

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 3, 2013) – The office of the Prime Minister yesterday confirmed the Council of Ministers (CoM) meeting this week pulled the plug on the Vanuatu Government’s initial plans to relocate the Vt1.5billion [US$15.8 million] Chinese funded Convention Center.

The reason(s) behind the CoM decision for the National Convention Center to be built in the Parliament Park green space will be released by the government’s Public Relations Officer in an official statement shortly.

The government in its 100 day list, under Aid Funded Priorities listed the action to negotiate and "Relocate the Chinese convention centre from Parliament Park."

The prime reason behind the relocation proposal was the bid to preserve the large green space as the Center will cover a total construction area of roughly 6,574 meters-squared spanning over 90% of its site, the Parliament Park, next to the Parliament House.

Also the relocation of the Center to another site on Efate, another island or province would also ensure development is not restricted to the capital but it will do justice to the decentralization policy to facilitate development and services to the provinces.

January this year saw the groundbreaking ceremony for the start of construction work on the China funded Vt1.5 billion multi-purpose National Convention Center when MP Sato Kilman was Prime Minister.

MP Kilman acknowledged the contributions of the staff from the Embassy of China on their efforts and collaborations with the Vanuatu appointed Task Force and stressed experience shows that there is need for such a facility owned by the government and the people of Vanuatu and the "positive economic impact of hosting regional and international events and conferences on our shores will increase its opportunity to bid for and host other international conferences paving way for greater socio-economic benefits to the people and business community of this country."

At that time he conveyed his hopes for the building to be completed in the 4th quarter of 2014 or an estimated 18 months.

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