Independence celebrations

Vanuatu PM responds to criticism of extended public holiday event

The independence celebrations begin next week.

Bob Loughman was responding to criticism from the leader of the opposition that extended public holidays were ill-advised during this time of economic downturn.

Mr Loughman says the holidays were recommended and approved during the previous government which the opposition leader was part of.

The 40th Anniversary Independence Celebrations' national co-ordinator Fred Samuel says the 100-million-vatu ($US865,856) budget for the event was also passed by the previous administration.

Residents flock to inaugural Paga Hill Street Festival

This is the second day of this first-ever event, which began since 9 o'clock this morning.

At least more than a thousand of the city's residents have come out onto the street in their colours of black, red, yellow and white.

NCD Governor Powes Parkop, expressed appreciation on the turnout of the event.

"I am overwhelmed by the response and I am so proud of our people despite all our challenges, they still appreciate their country.

"Great success for the Street and Music festival and it can only get better from now on," he said.

Police Force loses a "talented and outstanding" member

Late George Kalran, known as the face of the Vanuatu Mobile Force brass band during Independence celebrations for the ‘Makarena dance’, passed away around midday yesterday.

He joined the Force via Direct Entry in February 1, 1994 and served with the Band Platoon.

After joining the Force in 1994, late Kalran became the Band’s Man and served as a private for six years.