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Samoa Briefs

TIME NOT RIGHT FOR SAMOA - UNITED STATES ROUTE

APIA--Samoa’s Prime Minister has revealed that the government has been talking to Virgin Samoa about flying to the United States.

Air New Zealand suspended a direct flight from Apia to Los Angeles two years ago citing financial losses. At present Air Pacific flies a weekly flight from Apia to Honolulu.

The Samoa government newspaper Savali reports that Virgin Samoa, which is partly owned by the Samoa Government, has informed the government that the time is not right to fly either to Hawai’i or the U.S mainland. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says Virgin Samoa looked at the numbers, then came back and told the government that ‘the time is not right’ to fly to the U.S.

The Prime Minister said the U.S route has been a ’graveyard’ for other airlines in the past, citing South Pacific Island Airways, Pan-American Airlines and Samoa’s own Polynesian Airlines.

He said they all tried with very little success in flying that route.

SAMOA CONSIDERS SHAKE-DOWN OF TOP BUREAUCRACY

APIA--Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi wants to do away with the position of ‘assistant chief executive’ within government ministries.

Currently it is not unusual for a ministry to have five or more such posts, with each receiving substantial salaries. Tuilaepa says the proposed change would avoid the confusion created by having too many such officers.

He says the Public Service Commission is reviewing the issue. The opposition leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II, supports the move. He has told the Samoa Observer the government has finally acted on what the opposition has been calling for.

JUDGE STRIKES OUT DEFAMATION CASE AGAINST TALAMUA MEDIA

APIA--The defamation claim in Samoa by a former Electric Power Corporation employee against the online Talamua media agency has been struck out.

Matafeo Reupena Matafeo had filed a 100,000 US dollar claim against Talamua alleging defamation over two articles published in August and November last year in which he was mentioned.

The judge, Patu Falefatu Maka Sapolu, struck out the matter after the plaintiff and the defendant signed an agreement for the case to be discontinued upon application by the plaintiff’s lawyer.

The agreement has also settled the matter through mediation without any cost to each party.

SOLAR SAMOA PROJECT NEGOTIATING WITH POTENTIAL INVESTOR

APIA--The company behind a multi-million dollar solar power project in Samoa is hoping to woo a new investor in Australia.

Solar Samoa Limited suffered a set-back when a financier failed to come up with funding under an agreement signed in July.

Under the private 20 million US dollar project, 1 point 75 megawatts of solar power will be generated in Samoa each year, reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. The company chairman,Oloipola Terrence Betham says they are negotiating with an Australian solar panel installer that has the potential to fund the entire project.

“It’s a very credible party and a very serious party to provide us with the necessary technical and financing background, and it’s here in Samoa right now. They’ve been here before, they’ve had discussions with EPC before and at the moment I’m meeting with them right now,” said Oloipola.

Oloipola says he hopes a new deal can be signed within a month.



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