Thursday, May 23, 2013

Turn Port Vila into ‘Pearl of the South Pacific’: Crowby

By Len Garae, Daily Post: May 23 morning, Minister for Internal Affairs Patrick Crowby has appealed to the Central Government, Port Vila Municipal Council, Shefa Province, Private Sector and citizens of Port Vila to turn Port Vila into the “Pearl of the South Pacific”. The Minister made the call in his address to mark the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government, Port Vila Municipal Council and Shefa Province towards the building of the longest walk way from the Market House to Faturmaru Bay in what is termed the “Joint Port Vila Beautification Project”.
The project is to be funded by traditional donor partners New Zealand and Australia. The total cost of the project has yet to be announced. The Minister is not new to the project as it was he who initiated the beautification project complete with its colourful Christmas lights and Fatumaru Bay waterfall when he was the Mayor of Port Vila Municipal Council. He called on the people of Port Vila to take good care of the new project when it is finished saying, “We all come from near and far to live in our multicultural community in Port Vila and it is our duty to take great care of our environment to keep it clean, beautiful for ourselves and our visitors. “Let us not forget that it takes exceptional generosity for the indigenous landowners of Ifira and their chief to allow us to live and work here in Port Vila. For this reason, I appeal to all of us to show respect for our environment to keep it beautiful because that respect will filter through to the custom landowners of Port Vila”. Crowby specifically asked for “one minute of silence” to honour the late Paul Gardissat for his contributions towards the original beautification project. He said the MOU coincided with the Government’s 100th Day Policy Framework.  In his address the Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities Esmon Simon paid tribute to the late chief of Ifira Chief Graham Kalsakau II for his foresight in seeing such a walk way well ahead of its time, and thanked the custom landowners for allowing their land for use to development Port Vila. He said the Beautification Project has to be coordinated through a “cooperative approach” bearing in mind that it is going to reflect the “first impression” of Vanuatu when visitors see Port Vila so it is vital to keep the Capital smart, clean and beautiful. The Minister said his Ministry is also responsible for the conditions of the roads and it is his duty to work in line with the project to get the roads fixed to march the beauty of the natural environment of Port Vila.

Lord Mayor Ruben Olul also welcomed the project in the same spirit that the Government sees tourism as everyone’s business. “Keeping Port Vila beautiful is every citizen’s business”, he said. He assured the Government that his Council through its Working Committee will work side by side with the Government in line with its 100th Day Policy Framework towards achieving its objectives. He said the Beautification Project reflects the spirit of cooperation that has grown between the stakeholders to put their hands together to develop the city’s sea front.

He thanked the Chief of Ifira and his people for allowing their custom land to develop Port Vila. Minister of Planning and Climate Change Adaptation Thomas Laken said the Technical Working Group to oversee the implementation of the project has thirteen members. He thanked the Governments of New Zealand and Australia for funding the project saying the working group will meet on a weekly basis to ensure that the project develops in a systematic manner towards implementation and report back to the MOU signatories. The working group’s lifespan runs from May 22 to August 31. He Minister promised that the working group’s programme from May 22 to August 31 will bring about improvement of infrastructure within Port Vila, improvement of work between all stakeholder projects and an overall facelift of the image of Port Vila. Acting Director General of Tourism George Borugu welcomed the signatories and stakeholders present and appealed to the institutions and people of the Capital City to keep the environment clean and healthy.