Upgrade works on the 6km road network from Vanrewrep to Tansip in central Pentecost under the Vanuatu Coastal Adaptation Project (VCAP) was not completed in August this year as planned.
A concerned farmer from Nokonphok, a village between Vanrewrep and Tansip claimed political interference has caused the project to divert road works to other areas where some high ranking government officials are from.
VCAP Manager Jackson Tambe dismissed the allegations of political interference, but he confirmed works at the project site remains incomplete.
He blamed severe weather constraints in the area and insufficient funding for the complete cancellation of road works as well as lack of quarry.
“The bad weather conditions in the area has affected the work progress, resulting in the delay,” said Tambe.
“Ifira General Services as contractor delivered only 200m road upgrade in the six months contract period. The work was incomplete when the contract lapsed.
“An extension was granted and we (the project) decided to transfer works to another location within the same area.
“We commenced works from Hubiku to Tansip and then we connected Tansip with Laklak road in Central Ridge.”
The farmer from Nokonphok stressed the road upgrade at the new location only stops at Entul and could not proceed further inland where the road problems are worst.
The VACP Manager responded that the Hubiku-Tansip road is widely used compared to the Vanrewrep-Tansip one included in the project.
“The existing road connects a lot of villages to kava farms.
“Farmers there are struggling to bring their kava to Melsisi Shipping Port because of poor conditions, which are also affecting access to essential services as health, education, police and market.
“The plan was to connect central Pentecost with the eastern part but because of insufficient funding we could not reach the end of Laklak road,” he said.
Tambe said they also had to cancel road upgrade at another project site in east Pentecost, from Levetlis to Tswingbwege village.
Another project site of VCAP in central Pentecost is Vansemakul.
At Vansemakul, the project was supposed to construct a 1.5km concrete pavement.
The project is extending pavement to another 3km further in land. So far, concrete pavement has reached Lewakabwet village.
Daily Post understands the project took advice from the government and the project board based on community needs.
As part of its infrastructure component, VCAP is improving footpaths and also rehabilitating river crossings, bridges and building public walking tracks and ‘climate proofing’ infrastructure in Pentecost.