The country’s new Convention Centre which is funded by China and still under construction by a Chinese company, is going to be used for the first time to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that is going to be held in Port Vila in 2017.
Brussels-based Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy, made the confirmation while in Port Vila for the Third Enhanced Political Dialogue between the European Union and Vanuatu Government.
The Ambassador warns that on completion, the huge Convention Centre cannot be allowed to become a “white elephant”.
He encourages his counterparts in other countries in the Pacific and Asia to start planning ahead now, by negotiating with the foreign governments where they are based, and their non government organizations and private companies, to consider bringing their international conferences to Port Vila to host them in the new Convention Centre.
He says they can catch more than one bird with one stone by using the opportunity to also promote Vanuatu as an international tourist destination as well as a popular conference venue.
On a separate note, one of the weakest attributes of Government is a sleepy attitude towards most donor partner funded projects, to maintain them.
In most examples, the beautiful projects are not maintained until they cannot be repaired due to acute threat to human life.
One classic example is the now severely dilapidated Korman Stadium, which was once the most modern as well as most beautiful sports stadium in the country.
It also boasted the best man-made athletics tracks in the country.
The “pride of the country” was funded by France under the then Maxime Carlot Korman Government in the 1990s.