Loltong on Pentecost has been proposed as the new site for the Penama Provincial Headquarter under relocation plans from volcano-affected Ambae.

The Penama Provincial Administrative Council Sitting at Betarara in north Maewo last week agreed on this, the Daily Post was told.

One of the resolutions of the Council of Ministers (COM) following ongoing volcano crisis on Ambae was to relocate the Penama Provincial Headquarter from Saratama on Ambae to either the island of Pentecost or Maewo.

The decision by the provincial government was resolved through secret ballot voting where majority of the councilors voted for Loltong to be the new headquarter location.

Loltong in north Pentecost is already a public land.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs was mandated to coordinate the relocation of the headquarter.

Loltong area is not new to plans for development.

In 2008, then Minister of Lands, Maxime Carlot Korman, paid a visit to Loltong where he entered into an agreement to pay a compensation of Vt81 million to the Huhugaituvwa landowners association of Loltong.

The agreement was for the two parties to develop the area.

This compensation payment would be the first of its kind since the elders of the land area of Loltong between Latano and Labultamata agreed for it to be public land 35 years ago in 1983.

One of those elders was late Silas Nari who was also present and participated in the signing of the agreement in 2008 when Korman went to Loltong.

Korman as Minister of Lands was accompanied by then Prime Minister, Ham Lini, to sign initial agreements for the two parties to work together to develop the area under a development model that would be unique not only for Vanuatu but also within the region.

Under this planned development model, it would see the chiefs and landowners work in partnership with the government to develop Loltong into a more vibrant sub-centre not only for the island or province but also for the whole country.

While this never happened, last week’s decision by the provincial government falls within the development plans for Loltong.

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