A contract to build a Correctional Centre on Tanna was signed yesterday between the successful tender, the International Papua New Guinea Limited and the Vanuatu Correctional Services.
The Vanuatu Government initiated the construction of the Correctional Centre on Tanna, as all the prisons in Port Vila are outdated and date back to the colonial era. The project was funded through New Policy Proposals (NPPs) of the government and is expected to be completed by October 2023 and open in 2024.
According to the Project Coordinator who requested anonymity, the Correctional Centre was an important project for the government of Vanuatu, and they have been running a competitive bidding process, with five companies applying to build the center. “We wanted to build a Correctional Facility on Tanna so that some local offenders from Tanna who are in Port Vila can serve their sentence in their home island. Also, after completing their sentence, they can go back straight to the hands of their community, not released out here in Port Vila,” he said.
The Director of Vanuatu Correctional Services, Johnny Marango, said that the project was a long-time dream for the Ministry of Justice, and they were fortunate to have a budget provided by the government to work on the Tanna Correctional Project.
“We have been facing challenges due to the lack of a correctional facility in Tanna, this has cost the Government by sending offenders in and out to attend court cases in Port Vila,” the Director said.
“The police station and courthouse are among the well-maintained buildings of the Ministry of Justice, but we still needed to create a correctional facility. Realizing this ambition was significant for both the government and the people of Tanna.”
He also explained that the project aimed to keep only low-risk offenders who are ready to go back to their community and those in remand who will be easy to keep in Tanna to attend their next hearing.
The deal was signed by Robin Huang, Managing Director of China Jiangsu International PNG Ltd, who expressed eagerness to continue helping Vanuatu.
“Today, I am very happy to sign the contract with the Ministry of Justice. We are State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) from Jiangsu Provincial Government, working internationally in doing international engineering contracting,” Robin said. “We are capable of doing this project and sensually thank so much for the trust from the Ministry. I promise we will devote all we have to the implementation of the project and make a contribution to Vanuatu in the future.”
The government is also expecting donor partners to help set up the prisons by purchasing furniture and equipment such as computers when the construction project is over.
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