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News from Samoa

SAMOA’S MINISTRY OF POLICE CONSIDERS GUN AMNESTY

Samoa’s Ministry of Police is considering calling a gun amnesty following concerns over the increasing number of unlicensed and illegal firearms in the community.

The assistant police commissioner, Leaupepe Fatu Pula, says it’s not only the public who are worried but police officers have also raised their concerns.

He says guns were found at a recent police drug raid, and a gun was used recently to kill a local taxi driver.

He also says police are investigating the death of a woman who was killed accidentally by her brother with a gun.

Leaupepe says a gun amnesty would allow people in the possession of illegal firearms to come forward and hand over the weapons to police without facing criminal charges.

The last gun amnesty in Samoa was 2006.

SAMOA PRIME MINISTER TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND

The Samoa Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, will be in New Zealand later this week to mark the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says this country’s special relationship with Samoa is built on a shared Polynesian history, cultural ties, people-to-people links and regional cooperation.

Mr Key says regular high-level talks are an important part of the relationship, reflecting the closeness between the two countries and providing an opportunity to discuss and progress bilateral issues.

He says they will also discuss regional matters.

STUDY TO DETERMINE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

A study that will look into the prevalence of mental illness in Samoa is intended to help establish what type of mental health care is best suited for Samoa.

The study is the first of its kind in the Pacific and is being spearheaded by Samoa’s Ministry of Health.

A Psychiatrist with Faleola Mental Health Services in Auckland, Leota Dr Lisi Petaia, is also involved in the study.

She says the 2009 tsunami highlighted the need to understand the nature of mental health and mental illness within the Samoan context.

Leota says mental health provisions for Samoa cannot be based on studies done elsewhere.

“The survey that we’re planning to do which we’re hoping to kickstart at the end of the year will hopefully provide data to help establish the appropriate level of mental health services, it will help design what type of mental health services that is best suited for Samoa and it will also provide a base line for further studies in the future as Samoa continue to develop.”

Leota Dr Lisi Petaia says the study will also allow health services to review post traumatic symptoms related to the tsunami.

NEW ZEALAND GIFTS SAMOA HALF-CENTURY OF LAW REPORTS

New Zealand has gifted Samoa 63 years of law reports, which Samoa’s chief justice, Patu Falefatu Maka Sapolu, says are essential tools of trade for judges and lawyers in any common law jurisdiction.

Patu says New Zealand legal judgements have had a profound and enduring influence in the development and shaping of modern Samoan law.

The New Zealand High Commissioner in Apia, Nick Hurley, handed over the reports, for the years from 1949 to 2011, in a ceremony last week.

He says they had become surplus to requirements at New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“And we asked the Government of Samoa if they would be interested and they were very much interested in them. They use these reports as a strong basis for their own judgements. That’s because the legal system here, although it’s different from New Zealand is drawn very much on the New Zealand experience.”

ASSAULT PROMPTS CALL FOR AWARENESS ABOUT TOURISM

The recent assault of two Japanese expatriates working in Samoa has prompted calls from the Samoa Hotel Association on the government to consider tourism studies to start from the primary school level.

The Association’s president, Tuala Oli Ah Him, says members have decided to approach the Minister and CEO of the Ministry of Education with their concerns about locals allegedly attacking tourists.

Tuala says tourism is important for the country’s economic development, so everyone, including the government, must play a major role in educating a new generation of people to help protect it.

Two young men of Sapunaoa village were sentenced on Monday to 18 month in jail each after they have admitted to assaulting and robbing the two overseas volunteers.

Tuala says this gives a bad image of the industry in Samoa.

Source: Radio New Zealand



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