Mr Fred Samuel, the National Coordinator of the task force responsible for preparations Vanuatu’s 40th Independence Anniversary and the Pacific Islands Forum, has confirmed some of the preparations towards the two major events have commenced.
Speaking to Daily Post, Mr Samuel shared some insights in the preparations the team is working on as well as preparations towards the PIF meetings which will take place in Port Vila later after the 40th Independence anniversary.
Within the task force there are also specific sub-committees that are responsible for the Independence celebrations all across the three Municipalities, in the five Provincial centers as well as the seventy-two area councils, including some of the big embassies outside Vanuatu.
According to Mr Samuel, the sub-committees meet on a fortnightly basis. A budget of Vt100 million has been approved by the Parliament in December last year. This will be distributed to all the municipalities, provincial centers and area councils to make sure there is a nationwide celebration. A special team was also approved and launched by the committee.
With the theme, “Prosperity for Self-Reliance and Resilient Future”, a special logo has also been designed, and approved and is being published along with the theme towards the upcoming celebration.
“A communication and a sponsorship strategy have been approved,” Mr Samuel explained.
“The communication strategy basically plans on how the task force can communicate towards the preparations of the anniversary, targeting three main objective, firstly to make sure and encourage everyone to attend the Independence anniversary celebrations on the 30th of July, secondly, a lot of young people are born after Independence and the team will be communicating a lot about the struggle for Independence and why we struggle for Independence, and the benefit of gaining Independence, thirdly, to showcase our Independence, on what Vanuatu has achieved over the 40 years.
“An events management plan that basically tracks all activities. I as the National Coordinator monitor all the activities for all the sub committees, all provincial activities, including all the team leaders that have been appointed for several activities leading up to the 40th anniversary celebrations.
“There are also discussions in improving the Independence Park grandstand and a design has been done, and now we have the funding, to ensure improvement works to be carried out as well as expanding the sitting arrangements at Independence Park. And also, we want to improve all infrastructures, in Port Vila, in preparation for the 40th anniversary as well as the PIF including the five provincial centers.”
The National Coordinator also mentioned a beautification project and its budget, also been approved. He said that currently the project has been implemented throughout Port Vila, and managed by the town clerk of the Port Vila municipality in collaboration with all the councilors of the Municipality.
He said the same arrangement has been organized by the Luganville council, and a memo has been sent by the Director of the Department of Local Authorities, Leith Veremaito, to all the provincial Secretary Generals, to ensure that all the provinces are actually on track and by making sure that the two massive cleanup campaigns across Vanuatu in preparation for the Independence anniversary.
A calendar of events has been developed, as there is a series of events, for different sectors from now up until the Independence anniversary enabling the team wants to make sure that during those events there’ is a special mention of the 40th anniversary celebrations.
The task force has started to put in the branding communication materials.
Mr Samuel mentioned that some will be put out on banners within the streets, in social media as well as websites, and on TV and radio as well. Various talk back shows will take place as well leading up to the event. A draft program for the one-week celebration for Port Vila has been developed and the team is encouraging the Luganville team to do the same as well and the other five provincial centers.
He mentioned that there will also be a special booklet for this year in which the committee is working on as well. There are also few invitations given out by the government to all the Pacific island members, the head of governance, including the nations that Vanuatu has diplomatic relationships with, since the beginning of Independence. Mr Samuel confirmed that the team has sent their official invitations.
The National Coordinator assures the public that this year’s celebration will be the biggest ever in Port Vila, Luganville and across the provinces.