Re: Pekoa flight suspension
It is a pity that there was an emphasis on expats in the article in the Independent regarding Pekoa Airport last weekend as the Santo Chamber of Commerce represents all Santo businesses – and many of those seriously affected by the negative impact of losing direct flights are the Ni-Vanuatu transport and tourism operators along with the growing group of Ni-Vanuatu owned and operated accommodation businesses and restaurants not to mention the handicraft and artefact sellers and many others.
There was even a resort operator from Ra island in the Banks at the public meeting.
Check out the Santo Chamber of Commerce website HYPERLINK "http://www.santovanuatu.com"www.santovanuatu.com and you will see all the businesses that are represented there.
Be assured that the actions taken were taken were done in consultation with the wider community as they are all suffering from the consequences of the flight suspensions and fear the long term effects if the situation is not put right urgently.
It should also be pointed out that the disputing custom owners of the land where the trees are put aside their differences for now and agreed that the trees could be felled – for the common good.
They too are members of the affected community.
As often happens in a situation like this there is widespread support – however the things that actually need doing just need a few dedicated people with the right skills – and on this occasion – yes they were expats – but more importantly they were residents who were prepared to get stuck in for the common good.
Why did they have to?
That is for the government to determine.
What has become abundantly clear is that the job was not being done and no-one was taking responsibility – or the situation would not have arisen.
What is also clear is that no one in the chain of command took any action to restore the airport to an operational state either earlier when the problems first arose – or later when the PASO report was presented.
After all, the airports in Vanuatu and Civil aviation in Vanuatu at the moment are the responsibility of Government organisations.
It appears that there is no concern or understanding of the great damage that is done to the credibility of Vanuatu and its whole tourism industry (not just Santo) when vital systems like aviation standards are compromised.
What is also very disappointing is that there was no consultation with the business community in Santo before the drastic action was taken.
As a group they would much rather be involved is finding a solution to a problem before it is too great rather than having to be part of reactionary response afterwards when the damage is already done.
Espiritu Santo Chamber of Commerce