Vila Times

Ni-Vans in New Caledonia feel forgotten

Ni-Vans in New Caledonia feel forgotten
Ni-Vans in New Caledonia feel forgotten
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Members of Vanuatu Community feel they are forgotten by their government. Since two decades now, they though their request fell on deaf ears.
As the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Ralph Regenvanu met them on Saturday 22 June at Vallée des Colons, they had to remind him of their longtime need. Since Vanuatu MPs and Ministers made regular visit to New Caledonia after the establishment of Vanuatu Consulate in the 90s when moderates were in power, only need for Vanuatu Community in the French Territory was a plot of land for community use as the number of Vanuatu citizens there was increasing.
Since the first request was made to Vanuatu visitors, no effort has been made to handle the need with care. And when they heard again on Saturday from the State Minister that the government will ensure Vanuatu Community will be served with a plot of land, many seemed to have his words as ‘same chorus’ as they are tired of hearing the same words.
“I trust and respect our Minister as it is through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we have a consulate in Noumea, but all we want is that our government has to know that there is a part of Vanuatu in New Caledonia. The two countries have historical relationships. We Ni-Vans who are residing and working here are citizens of Vanuatu and we don’t want to be ignored by our leaders. We vote for our leaders in all general elections. For the land in question, I think it is something new for our Minister. We hope he will do something to make our dream come true,” pointed out a strong member of the community Léon Yawah from Tanna Island.
Members of Vanuatu Community present at the meeting were assured by the State Minister that contacts have been made with a certain real estate company in the neighboring country for a land near Nouville to build a house that will accommodate Vanuatu Consulate and students from Vanuatu.
“But we need a place to be our community centre. We feel ashamed when our community has to meet in the centres belonging to other communities,” said Léon Yawah.
Reports from Noumea said Minister Regenvanu did not elaborate more on the issue of land.
In the past years, many Vanuatu Ministers and MPs who were in New Caledonia and were presented with the same request seemed to give no attention to it.
In 2005, the then Minister of Finance, Moana Carcasses, led an high delegation from his Green Confederation to New Caledonia to visit industrial businesses, government offices and to have discussions with government officials and people from private sector. This trip was possible through strong relationships between politicians from Vanuatu had with those from New Caledonia, an opportunity offered to Ni-Vanuatu to discover and identify sectors that could be reserved for exchange opportunity.
When meeting with Vanuatu Community, the same request for a land was verbally served to the State Minister but nothing has been done.
During their recent meeting with Minister Ralph, members of Vanuatu Community also raised complaint about the Vanuatu Consulate in New Caledonia saying that it is not well structured to serve the real need of citizens of the country in the neighboring country and that they could not accept the fact that the secretary of Vanuatu Consul Serge Alain Mahe is his spouse.
The Minister accepted the complaint and told members of Vanuatu Community that to appoint someone from New Caledonia to occupy the post would cost money on salary but said the government is going to improve the office administration.
Vanuatu Community in New Caledonia has about 2 300 members representing 1% of the population of New Caledonia reaching already 283 000. Caption: During their meeting with the minister of Foreign Affairs recently. (Photo: Supplied)