PM shocked to learn Radio Vanuatu no longer heard even in rural Efate; Lapetasi wharf project making good progress

Lapetasi wharf construction project. Photo: Vanuatu Govt

Lapetasi wharf construction project in Port Vila. Photo: Vanuatu Govt

The most encouraging news for those working in the media this week was Prime Minister Charlot Salwai’s insistence the national broadcaster functions to expectations. PM Salwai visited the Vanuatu Broadcasting & Television Corporation (VBTC) on Thursday and spoke to the Board and staff, emphasizing how coverage must be extended to all islands and communities in the country, indeed to the same level as in the first four decades of VBTC’s existence. The PM recalled how the signal of the broadcasting service could be heard on Penteccost when he was growing up, but lack of coverage today is “a challenging issue.” “Now there is no coverage even in rural Efate,” stressed the PM. The situation arises because even though state of the art equipment has been provided under aid programs, especially from Australia, and with the Brodkas Haos project of 1980. VBTC management has failed to ensure an adequate engineering department and training of technicians whilst undergoing financial crises. The PM will seek a further audit report into the workings of the Corporation if the annual report does not make it clear where the deficiencies lie.

Daily Post today carefully reports the VBTC shortcomings and the extent of the country’s present most impressive aid scheme, the Japanese funded Lapetasi Wharf project which employs 200 Ni-Vanuatu. The media was invited to tour the site yesterday, and journalists noted the strength of the wharf frontage which sees over 200 metres of piles being impacted to a depth of 30 metres. It provides for container unloading areas and the dredging of huge quantities of coral for use on future developments. Such moves see the project making adjacent to each other both the international container and wharf terminal and the area of the present Star Wharf for inter-island connectivity. Local and international wharves are also connected by a channel through the reef which extends from South Iririki to the wharf road. Journalists were impressed by the number of Ni-Vanuatu employed on the Lapetasi Wharf building project due for completion in October next year.

It is also good to learn today of the Bauerfield International Airport SEST (Surface Enrichment Sprayed Treatment) works nearing completion.