Archive for February, 2009
February 25th, 2009
It appears Edenhope has entered into a new and [magically] overflowing phase. This became apparent during the recent trip to Port Vila 15-19 February, to fast forward the matters in which we sought concessions.
It was a trip of successive high points – each with perhaps a differing motive but all dovetailing the rest in the overall plan. It was also important to place our ‘silver’ here [with Min of Health] for the need is not only great but ….I cannot imagine the possibility of a future without it! [Just as the present could not have evolved without it at the outset].
Edenhope applied officially to the Council of Ministers for certain concessions, first of all, exemption from VAT [since we have no mechanism to recover VAT we are charged] and some relief from Duties; and, second, for Residence Permits for Members.
In a meeting with Lands Ministry [DG - Dir Genl] and Environment [Dir] to either endorse the Project, sign the Certification and Sponsor the Project ….or to remain neutral [not signing it], the DG made it clear that the Project is of great value to the world and in the best interests of Vanuatu too. Thus it should be supported as long as any outstanding questions are answered. I responded easily to them, so Environment had to sign on. They wanted to anyway – just needed a little coaxing to leverage their seal on the paper.
The completed application was sent on to Dept of Strategic Policy, Planning and Aid Coordination – from where it goes to the relevant agencies [Minister of Finance], then back to the Council of Ministers. We already have committed support from Ministers and Political Advisors, so the Project should be a shoe-in to its official destiny …as the whole government adopts it officially.
At the end of the meeting, I asked DG if he could fast-track the Negotiator Certificate for us. He surprised me by suggesting that the committee that rules on Lease Applications was meeting in two days and, if we got the application in by tomorrow, he would get it on the agenda.
The application requires sign-offs by several of the relevant Officials from the Provincial Council [Planning, caption, Environment, Lands] – back in Santo. But, curiously, as I was waiting for this meeting in reception, the SG [Sec Genl] from Santo was there …so he was already in town and thus could be cajoled into signing for his staff – if a strong enough representation was made.
Well, we somehow did that…. At a lunch next day at the local 5*, SG and four of the councilors [all in town to meet with various ministries] held a formal meeting to endorse SG’s signing of the document for us. The desserts, of course, were then stupendous elaborations of ice cream – and the size of the wine goblets eased the strains of such a demanding agenda….
We learned by email that the Application [for Negotiator Certificate] was approved as hoped at the meeting Thursday. Though, today, John [Noel, our ‘facilitator’] advised that the printer in that Dept of Lands office was out of toner [did we want to buy one – I immediately said:- ‘no’]. The document will be up on the 5:00pm flight.
All this has put us onto a fast-track to get a survey done, invite three Environment and Forestry officers to catalogue it, and Lands Ministry to do a valuation. But fast-track is relative in
We still have a host of edible, medicinal and just beautiful plants & young trees to be carried up to the site. The logistics of it all can be a little overwhelming. But little by little it has a wonderful way of working out.
Meanwhile we are informed that the prefabricated structures of the first seven bungalows are all but complete and close to ready to be shipped up [on the backhaul of a charter]. So we must get the survey underway asap and get up there again to locate the water sources and site the constructions, This might have been a nightmare, but that too seems to have become resolved into almost ….a lullabye.
Now, today, two containers have arrived from