New Zealand High Commission Port Vila, Vanuatu
New Correctional Facilities opened in Luganville
Improvements to the Luganvillle Correctional Facility (kalabus), on the island of Santo were opened at a ceremony held on 21 November. The New Zealand Government provided about VT 5 million for the improvements, which enable the prison to hold 80 detainees, including high, medium and low-risk, plus remanded and female detainees (remand detainees are those who are waiting to go to court or have been convicted and are waiting to be sentenced). The cost was kept down through the labour contributed by low-risk detainees, who were able to practice carpentry skills during the project.
Speaking at the opening, the New Zealand High Commissioner, Bill Dobbie, thanked all those who helped complete the work. He said it was an important step towards making sure that all Vanuatu's prisons are safe and secure, and that prisoners human rights are respected. He said that while the Department of Correctional Services faced a number of difficult problems, "this project shows that the Department, working with local government and communities, has the solutions to these problems."
The Director of Correctional Services, Johnny Marango, said that the Government was very pleased to have a safe and secure unit for female detainees in the Northern Region, for the first time since independence. He thanked New Zealand for its support.
New Zealand has been providing funds and advisor support to the Dipatmen Blong Koreksonal Sevis (DBKS) since 2006. There are 70 detainees in Luganville and almost 90 in Port Vila, plus 300 who are serving community work or supervision sentences, or on parole (ie released early for good behaviour)