A primary school teacher on Ambae has called her brother in Port Vila to step in to pay for her child’s school fee at Malapoa College because she says it is far too expensive for her to take a ship to Luganville to withdraw her salary from the National Bank in the Northern Town.
In fact, she says all other public servants working on the island have to travel to Luganville to withdraw their salaries from the bank.
“We can take a boat to Maewo or Pentecost but unfortunately it is even more expensive to travel there because after paying for a boat ride, you have to pay for land transport and it is even more costly than the cost of traveling to Santo”, she says.
Asked why the NBV at Saratamata has not reopened, the Manager of National Bank of Vanuatu Rural Services, John Aruhuri explains, “Our young people have cleaned the entire area of Saratamata and we as a bank are ready to reopen but the issue seems to be with Air Vanuatu flights to Longana which have not started yet.
“We have checked with them to give a clear reason why Air Vanuatu services to Longana have not resumed while charted flights on Unity Airline and Belair land at Longana Airport but the airline has not given a clear explanation.
“The nearby villagers say the tarmac is clean of ashes and cattle dung as a result of regular rains and yet, no Air Vanuatu plane has landed yet since the ban”.
Daily Post visited the airport last December and confirmed the entire tar sealed floor of the runway was littered with dry cattle dung and would do with a complete clean up before a plane could land.
Now the people of North, North East, East and South Ambae are waiting for the Government to give the green light for Air Vanuatu to reopen its services to their island.
Aruhuri says the staff of NBV at Saratamata are working in the Bank in Port Vila as well as in Luganville while waiting for the greenlight to return to Saratamata.
On the question of the reopening of schools, reliable sources have confirmed that Vureas St. Patrick’s College and Ambaebulu Bilingual Secondary School will reopen their doors for the Second Term.