28 Feb 2007

Funding for Free Trade Zone in Vanuatu suspended

7:57 pm on 28 February 2007

The coordinator of Vanuatu's proposed free trade zone project in Big Bay of Santo has suspended all funding from US investors towards the project until after the Sanma Provincial Elections in April.

Antoine Pikioune told the Daily Post newspaper that he made the decision to stop politicians from abusing project funds for political gain especially now when they are campaigning for the Samna provincial election.

The Vanuatu government has signed an MOU with Texas-based Pacific Vanguard Corporation.

Mr Pikioune says he is working with custom landowners to set up a landowners trust account in a bank into which the investors can transfer lease payment to the landowners.

Mr Pikioune, who is a landowner and comes from Big Bay, says landowners want to make sure that similar project funds are not diverted for political reasons.