Bauerfield

Bauerfield runway File Photo.

Vanuatu Daily Post saw the Bauerfield upgrade and hotel development as a “new horizon” just a month ago.

We, the residents of the tiny Republic, know we’ve got it all here. Something like container loads of Asians are also wanting to come here and to stay in 5-star accommodation with 24-hour gambling. The Government is ready to make them feel at home, too.

And exactly a month ago it signed an agreement linking the well-respected CCECC Chinese construction company (getting on with the Games site) and the Vanuatu Government in the upgrade of the country’s leading international airport terminal.

And to make sure there would be room for the increased volume of incoming visitors, already, even before the elections last year, and back in 2015, a company called MG Global Enterprise Ltd had seen the touristic tsunami (and possible investment invasion to the ongoing tax haven) coming and bought a title near the Tana Russet Plaza (11/OF21/027) at Melcofe on the airport side of town and were planning add-on necessities such as a tower site for tourists to enjoy the magnificent sunsets. A shopping plaza was already there — the Tana Russet, opposite Daily Post. In mid-2016 MG Global bought a nearby title to its planned hotel site, too — 11/OF23/025 — for an 11-storey “MG Tower”.

Vila Times had the Vanuatu Government, CCECC and MG Group Hotel project in Hong Kong linked in its headline of 19 December.

Then on 14 January Daily Post tells us of USD 14 million extra approved by the World Bank for the terminal upgrade at Bauerfield as well as Pakoa and Whitegrass. But the World Bank is not providing any of this money.

They say “The World Bank is not undertaking any terminal works at Bauerfield, as the government has not requested our assistance. The additional USD 14 million recently announced will be used to address the increased needs for pavement investments at the 3 airports. This is in addition to the initial funding of USD 59.5 million (which includes USD 300,000 from the Australian government) announced in June 2015”.

The new Vanuatu Government and engineers CCECC have respectable reputations of which we are well aware. But who or what is the MG Global Enterprise with which the two first named parties are linked in the agreement signed just before Christmas?

It is actually the MG Commercial Bank (MGCB) seeking to build the Melcofe Tower and Hotel. But their Vanuatu web site is still under construction. Now this is rather bizarre given that they have been trying to operate here from the time of the previous government, over a year ago. The Reserve Bank web site connects them to only two persons, Jimmy Taseru of North Efate who used to work at the National Bank, and one Patrick Li.

MGCB is part of a much larger story of a series of companies controlled by a single individual. The now-defunct Hong Kong Bitcoin Exchange claimed there is a parent company, MG Foreign Exchange Limted, incorporated as recently as 2013 with one director, Wong Kin Lung.

But the principal element to works planned for Vanuatu is MGMC, Marigold Global Markets Corporation, and that company links us to Wong Kin Lung and the MG Commercial Bank here. And to many other MG and Marigold companies. MG Immigration Ltd certainly has us listed already and draws attention to our banking secrecy laws. Does the government know what services MG Immigration Ltd will provide for giving Chinese and their money an escape route from China?

Remember how difficult it was trying to link together the various identities when our principal questions a couple of years ago referred to airport improvements, but that time it was at Rentabau? Most of the principals from that time remain abroad or are now in our very own gaol, here.

Now it’s at Bauerfield. Getting all the connections stret now is even more important, and trying to do it through the internet takes us beyond Marigold Markets Corporation, MG Foreign Exchange and a clutch of companies with names beginning with MG or Marigold. At least the newborn MG Commercial Bank site says they can be found here in the Vila Mall. It doesn’t tell one anything else very interesting, at least not today. The web site is still being constructed.

But surely they will have to find something very plausible to say before too long. They are supposed to be providing CCECC with architectural and engineering plans for the big Bauerfield terminal the other side of the runway and this for a bankable feasability study for decisions (whose?) just over a month away in March.

And what Marigold and MG companies have to know is that after the runway strengthening project the World Bank is only interested in repairing and renovations to the existing Bauerfield terminal. They said as much very recently.

Daily Post on Saturday 14 January pointed out that the USD 14 million extra being given by the World Bank was only to cover “improving the terminals of Bauerfield, Pakoa on Santo and Whitegrass on Tanna.” Bakoa Kaltongga, first political adviser in MIPU and also Chairman of Airports Vanuatu Limited was quoted in the paper as saying so. Daily Post had already been informed that CCECC had won a contract to design a new terminal for Bauerfield, as we learned in a previous article. Kaltongga said on Saturday last “They are expected to complete the actual designs [for Bauerfield] no later than March this year. They are at it and we are waiting to receive details of the engineering designs on the new terminal”.

Then the upgrades for Pakoa and Whitegrass terminals have to be taken into account. Where are they? Remember it’s now been 16 years since Whitegrass was opened to receive the influx of tourists expected from Tontouta New Caledonia and especially Magenta Noumea. However, without fulf-time international border representation this isn’t happening. Major works are needed if this wish is ever to be fulfilled. And the government and CCECC (as the terminal planners here) must also note the need for great improvements in the Santo terminal as Air Vanuatu is landing more international passengers there.

The Saturday 14 January announcement was for the airport upgrades for the three international terminals. The Vanuatu public wants to see all airports developed before huge brand new structures. The World Bank will not fund the extravagance of a brand new terminal on the other side of the Bauerfield runway. This is a runway we have proven we cannot afford to maintain. We are unlikely to be any better with terminals, and CCECC must be noting how we cannot even maintain sports facilities, at Korman.

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