The Government still owes UNELCO a huge outstanding electricity bill for the main conference room at the National Convention Centre.
This was discovered by teachers during World Teacher’s Day (WTD) when they were greeted by a dark conference room.
The WDT Program in Port Vila did not begin immediately as scheduled after a parade to the venue.
Hundreds of teachers had to sit and listen to the Master of Ceremony (MC) in the dark as there were no lights in the room reportedly due to no electricity.
They waited for some time until the Minister of Education, responsible for teachers, arrived with his delegation and ordered that the program cannot proceed until UNELCO reconnected power.
Everyone else continued to wait while technicians tried to connect the stage with light bulbs, to allow speakers to read their speeches.
It was revealed to the confused audience that the government owes a huge outstanding electricity bill to Unelco.
As reported by Daily Post in August this year the bill stood at Vt12 million.
Despite this, teachers, feeling proud of being an educator on their day, continued to cheer and dance to the sweet sounds of local musician, Zadock.
The WTD Organizing Committee could hire the two other conference rooms but they were too small for large gatherings.
Power was connected later before the President, Moses Obed Tallis, could present recognition medals to 21 retired teachers to mark the day.
President Tallis told the teachers he was sorry for the delay in their program.
“My heartfelt sorry for this.
“I was told it concerns lighting, which should have been fixed before your special day today (last Friday, October 6).
“This incident must not happen again,” he added.
The day was set aside for everyone to recognize teachers and the vital role they play in nurturing the young minds and character of our country.
WTD falls on October 5 every year. In Vanuatu, it’s also the national Constitution Day.
The government, through the Ministry of Education, has declared the day to be an annual event and it will be celebrated on October 6.
On that day, all schools will close to allow all educators across the country to take pride of who they are in transforming young minds as one of the noblest jobs in the world and also, to take pride in the products they have created in all fields of life.