Cameron Scott is the former editor of several community newspapers in New Zealand. He is now editor of the daily Cook Islands News, a position he has held previously. A former travel writer and features editor, he has operated an advertising and public relations company as well as a small publishing venture. Before moving back to the Cook Islands he worked as a freelance writer and relieving community newspapers editor for the Bay of Plenty Times in Tauranga, New Zealand.
The Chamber of Commerce is still communicating with government regarding the Manatua Cable in spite of their differences of opinion over cost aspects, says the organisation’s president, Stephen Lyon.
The Chamber recently issued a statement criticising the Manatua Cable’s design. The statement claimed Manatua would supply broadband at a much higher cost than a new option involving installing a branch cable from American Samoa to the Manatua Cable.
However, the government’s response came in a press release last week announcing that it was going ahead as planned with the Manatua Cable project The release said that while supporters of the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA) had made an approach to the Cook Islands seeking support to consider a new branch cable from American Samoa, no formal offer from ASTCA with pricing details had been submitted for consideration.
“Concerns raised by the Chamber of Commerce on this proposal and the Manatua cable are being considered carefully and the government looks to further discussion on those issues,” the release said.
In an email to CINews, Lyon said the Chamber of Commerce was not satisfied that the government’s press release allayed all the concerns the Chamber had raised in its original statement.
This was particularly the case with costing for options now on the table with a connection that involved a branch to American Samoa connecting with Hawaiiki, he added.
“We are also concerned that potential conflict of interest issues regarding the fact that Samoa is both a member of and supplier to the Manatua consortium have not been sufficiently addressed.
“Government is privy to reports the Chamber has not seen and we are hopeful that (it) will share these in the interests of transparency and public interest, so that we may all make better informed decisions on the matter.
“We also hope government will take heed of these issues, and hold off any payment that will execute the cable-laying contract until such time as better dialogue and understanding takes place.”
The well-known Saltwater Cafe has closed its doors for the last time.
National Environment Service (NES) director Joseph Brider says that the timing of his organisation’s decision to change the terms of a proposal to bury concrete left over from the Raromart fire near the site after photos taken by CINews showed hazardous waste also being buried there was “coincidental”.