New Supreme Court construction to start

A ground breaking ceremony has been held in Port Vila this week to mark the start of the construction of a new Supreme Court building.

To be built on the site of the old Supreme Court building, the construction of the new courthouse will cost VT1.2 billion.

The Vanuatu Prime Minister, Bob Loughman, says the construction must happen quickly because there is an urgent need to have a proper Supreme Court building.

He says the justice sector has waited a long time for the project to get underway.

“Accessiblity, affordability and equality are the cornerstones of our justice sector,” Prime Minister Loughman said.

Vanuatu’s Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek says the building is very important and must be accessible to all Ni Vanuatu.

Vanuatu’s Minister of Justice and Community Services, Esmon Simon, says he is proud that the reconstruction of the Supreme Court building is a priority for the Vanuatu Government.

Minister Simon says in the last 13 years, the court hearings have been taking place in a temporary building at the Dumbea Hall and at other locations, so the start of the construction of the new court is a very happy event for the country.

The governments of Australia and New Zealand are supporting the construction of the building – with the Australian Government contributing VT240 million and the New Zealand Government VT227 million.

The New Zealand High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Jonathan Schwass, says New Zealand’s support is a gift to the people of Vanuatu during the country’s 40 years of Independence anniversary.

Sarah De Zoeten, Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, says the building will bring long-term benefits to the people of Vanuatu.

The Vanuatu Supreme Court has been using temporary facilities for the last 13 years since the old Supreme Courthouse was burnt down in 2007.

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