An estimated over 4,000 strong crowd threatened to spill over into the parade grounds at Independence Park during the 38th Independence Anniversary Ceremony yesterday.
Police had to be posted to keep excited adults and children within their space.
Plane loads of celebrants from Noumea were flown in to be part of the celebrations too. People from the islands also arrived to also share in the festivities.
The Prime Minister’s address was welcomed by everyone as “to the point and short” because the formalities ended at about half past ten in the morning.
The Prime Minister specifically mentioned Ambae’s situation regarding its volcanic eruption and ash fall as one of the challenges facing the country at present. He thanked the Government for its stability and solidarity.
He underlined infrastructure resilience as everyone’s business and listed the following examples of positive impact:
• Infrastructure resilience is an opportunity to create employment;
• Infrastructure resilience boost economic development as it opens economic opportunities, it increases productivity, it improves accessibility and services;
• Infrastructure resilience is a preparedness for disaster including cyclone, strong winds, heavy rain or earthquake or flooding;
• It means feeder roads, wharves and airports such as Norsup, Motalava, North Ambrym and extensions to existing airports and classrooms, health units, health centres, hospitals and laboratories, infrastructures of national security and justice including court houses, National and Provincial Government buildings and structures of telecommunications, which include radio and television as they connect local farms with market access and water supply and energy.
• Infrastructure resilience has a strong link with sustaining the productive sector through an easy access to the market place;
• Infrastructure resilience also promotes the movement of tourists to the islands.
The Prime Minister named Korman Sports Facilities, Lapetasi Wharf, Port Vila Urban Road Infrastructure, Bauerfield International Airport, Pekoa International Airport, Whitegrass International Airport and road developments on Tanna and Malekula and submarine cable as classic examples of infrastructure resilience.
In addition he said, “We must change our traditional approach to doing things. It means we must improve our designs to allow the new buildings to withstand stress and disaster and respect the environment”.
He said the Government is aware of the different challenges and needs of the business communities and infant industries and medium size industries (SMEs) as the drivers of the economy and job creation and will continue to address them.
He says the Financial Inclusion Policy he launched this year aimed at improving access and services for the infant industries and SMEs.
“The Vanuatu Government has the duties and responsibilities to create a conducive environment for business investment and an enabling and secure environment for enriching the livelihood for all citizens”, he continued.
“Vanuatu must remain the better place in which to live and work and share equal benefits”.
The Prime Minister reminds the nation that celebrating Independence is a unique moment to unite everyone. “It is a special occasion for us to celebrate together as one people, one nation and one family sharing the same values of Custom and Christianity. We must unite at all times to build a better Vanuatu for future generations – the children of tomorrow”, he said.
“To conclude, may I remind all of us that we belong to a United and Free Country founded on Traditional Melanesian Values, Faith in God and Christian Principles, in line with our Motto of “Long God Yumi Stanap”.
Despite the current challenges, he called on the nation to have confidence that ‘with God nothing is impossible’.
“Be proud of yourselves!”, the Prime Minister ends his address.