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Pacific News Briefs

Friday 17 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional


Pacific News Briefs
Photo: RNZ

The Department of Homeland Security has completed its investigation of the bomb threat hoax of May 31st.

Bomb threat probe in American Samoa has gone to AG's office

Homeland Security Director Samana Semo Veavea said the report has gone to the Attorney General's Office and a copy has been forwarded to the Governor.

"I cannot discuss the detail of this investigation, but rest assured we will not let this go without prosecution," Samana told KHJ News.

The call about a bomb at the airport and port was traced to a cell phone but the owner of the phone claimed he did not make the call. The phone call prompted the evacuation of the port and airport.

Samana said at the time that while they did not make an arrest, the suspect remained under their radar.

Cook Islands' residents called on to enroll for elections

The Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand is encouraging Cook Islands residents to enroll for the upcoming election on August 1st.

The Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand Elizabeth Wright-Koteka speaks at the memorial service of Dr Joe Williams.
Cook Islands High Commissioner Elizabeth Wright-Koteka Photo: RNZ Pacific

To be eligible, people must reside in a constituency sequentially for three months and there are exceptions given for students, people who are in New Zealand for medical reasons, diplomats, and consular staff.

The 24-member Cook Islands Parliament is elected using the first-past-the-post system for a four-year term.

Cook Islands High Commissioner Elizabeth Wright-Koteka said there's enough time for voters to exercise their democratic right.

Cook Islanders who are normally residents in New Zealand are not eligible to vote.

Samoa Commission of Inquiry into electoral matters continues

Cleaning up existing electoral rolls is one of the talking points as the Samoan Commission of Inquiry looks into electoral matters.

TV1Samoa reports more than 20 people attended the first session raising issues from cleaning up rolls, voter eligibility, and candidates' qualifications.

One woman said village councils should be used to ensure registered voters live within electorate boundaries.

A male elector suggested adding a third seat as more people move into various districts.

One commissioner Tupuola Koki Tuala said it's a challenge for the office to locate those on the roll, and that cleaning up the national roll will address such issues.

Eligible voters and interested members of the public have been encouraged to attend and voice their concerns.

Chinese company awarded Samoa govt contract

A company in China, Neutech Limited, has been awarded a US$3.6million ($9.5million tālā) contract to supply a container cargo scanner for the Samoan government.

Samoa Observer reports a Cabinet directive dated June 8 that confirmed Cabinet's approval to procure the machine that will be managed by the Ministry of Customs and Revenue.

The container x-ray scanner is funded by the Asian Development Bank to boost border security and screen containers imported into Samoa.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio had recently tabled in Cabinet the Chief Auditor's investigation report questioning the inconsistency of specifications for the x-ray.

Tuala said the investigation from the Auditor looked at the process which he had not disputed and it was not conclusive because it did not clarify issues on the actual specification of the scanner.

Air Tahiti adds new aircraft to its fleet

Air Tahiti has added a new aircraft as it anticipates more inter-island travel in French Polynesia.

The plane will be leased for five months and then purchased next year.

Mandatory Covid-19 tests were lifted on June the 12th, making French Polynesia a favoured tourist destination, especially for Americans and French people who typically constitute most arrivals.

Samoa appoints 17-year-old for the global group Child Rights Connect

A 17-year-old deaf Samoan man has been appointed as a child advisor with the global group Child Rights Connect, a Geneva-based organisation working for children's rights through the United Nations human rights system.

The Deaf Association of Samoa announced the appointment of Poka Tuifelasa'i in a statement this week.

Tuifelasa'i is on the Association board and said he has to learn about his new role but is proud to represent Samoa in the global body.

Association president Melissa Leota said their organisation works to ensure increased representation and participation in international agencies.

Samoan man gets jail time for the death of his nephew

A Samoan man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his nephew has been sentenced to five years and six months in jail.

Sentencing for Afele Tiatia was handed down by Supreme Court judge, Leiataualesa Darryl Clarke.

The victim, a 14-year-old nephew of the defendant, swore at his grandmother, the defendant's mother, provoking the Tiatia to slap him and hit him with firewood.

The teenager died a few days later.

Justice Leiataualesa spoke about the trauma the family suffered with the body of the boy not being released for nine months until a pathologist could get into Samoa to undertake a postmortem, which happened earlier this month.