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Wallis and Futuna pulls out of Pacific Arts Festival
It is the only delegation to withdraw officially, just days after the Northern Marianas said it lacked the funds to attend.
The festival director, Robert Au, said 27 countries are expected but some are yet to confirm.
“Due to financial constraints, they will not make it - which Wallis and Futuna. All the other countries are confirmed, 21 so far. We’re waiting on the others to come and given them a deadline of the end of this month to confirm they are participating at the festival in July.”
Au said the festival preparations are behind schedule.
Meanwhile, the French senator representing Wallis and Futuna says he regrets that no commission has been set up to address concerns about the high cost of living.
Robert Laufoaulu has told New Caledonia’s daily newspaper he hopes Paris will send an expert in line with the accord drawn up after last November’s unprecedented street protests on Wallis.
The senator has also called for an upgrade of the territory’s statutes, citing difficulties in advancing projects amid the frequent changes of French administrator.
According to him, some of the powers should be given to the local authorities.
Laufoaulu has also told the newspaper that much rehabilitation work remains to be done on Futuna after the huge damage caused by Cyclone Tomas two years ago.
He said a half a kilometre piece of the only coastal road is still to be built and the phone network is yet to be repaired.
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