Lolo says American Samoa's Flag Day should go ahead

Pacific News Briefs
compiled by Samoa News staff

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga is not wavering on the 2018 Flag Day commemorations despite concerns that the focus should be on dealing with the impact of Cyclone Gita.

The governor has told local American Samoa radio station KHJ that natural disasters have not led to the cancellation of a Flag Day and he doesn't want it to happen now.

He said senators who want Flag Day to be called off or scaled down should consider the purpose of the annual event.

He said it’s to commemorate and thank God for his guidance and show the territory's appreciation to the United States for all the benefits and good fortune that it continues to shower upon American Samoa.

Lolo also said Flag Day is a happy celebration that the territory needs at this time.

(Samoa News notes the latest results of its online — samoanews.com — poll asking the question: Are you in favor of a low key Flag Day celebration with a flag raising, speech and prayer; or do you favor a bigger celebration that also includes a Fautasi Regatta and marching ASG employees? shows that 80% of our readers are in favor of a low key Flag Day celebration, and 20% for the bigger celebration.)

(Source: RNZI)

ONE DEAD IN LATEST NEW CALEDONIA DENGUE OUTBREAK

The latest dengue outbreak in New Caledonia has claimed its first life, a 74-year-old woman from near Noumea who died after being admitted to the hospital on Tuesday.

The dengue epidemic was declared in late February after a significant rise in the number of infections.

Since the start of March, 134 people have been diagnosed with dengue.

Last year's epidemic claimed 11 lives and officially affected 4,500 people.

(Source: RNZI)

NZ TO PUT MONEY WHERE MOUTH IS IN PACIFIC

New Zealand's Foreign Minister has dismissed claims that the country's aid efforts in the Pacific are encouraging a handout mentality in the islands.

Winston Peters has signaled that the government will invest more time and resources in the economic survival and security of the Pacific.

However his much touted "Pacific re-set" of New Zealand's foreign policy has faced criticism from some quarters where its benefits for New Zealand have been questioned

Peters said that New Zealand's own future prosperity and security were closely linked to the Pacific.

"Some New Zealanders think that we are maybe wasting money here. They are wrong. This gives us a persona internationally far bigger than the small country we are," said Peters.

"Overseas countries look beyond us, look over our shoulders to see who is backing us. And if the people behind us are an assembly of Pacific nations who look kindly towards us, it makes us a much more important international player."

According to Peters, the new government was going to "put our money where our mouth is" in terms of aid to the Pacific.

He said this was the big difference between his government's aid policy in the region compared to the previous government.

"I can recall years when the previous government underspent its overseas aid by 92 million dollars," said the minister.

"Now, that tells me they got up on budget day and said one thing, with no intention of spending the money in the first place. That's shorthand for deceit.

"In a Pacific basin where there was desperation everywhere, I don't think that's an honest way to go about things."

Asked whether there would be more funding made available for the work of NGOs and research groups in the Pacific, Peters said he believed there would be but couldn't "be too premature" about it.

He stressed that the government would invest more time and resources in being a "true partner" to Pacific Islands’ countries, which entailed working with them as equals.

Working to protect the islands' social, economic and environmental wellbeing did not always mean expensive programs, he explained. And in some cases, it also required global efforts, such as the goal of curbing inundation of plastic waste in the Pacific.

New Zealand's government recently joined the UN-led CleanSeas campaign, which aims to rid the seas of plastic waste.

Peters said it was important to reduce the amount of damaging waste in the Pacific arising from New Zealand's use of plastic.

"We have to...back home here … begin to ensure that the damage that plastic does is not as a consequence of our careless use of it, or failure to treat it properly in our country."

Peters said the lack of adequate waste management systems was sorely evident throughout the Pacific. He explained that New Zealand was looking to assist Pacific Island countries with better waste management systems.

"We could use best practice, best knowledge, best industrial advances to help these populations out," he said.

"And that is the reason why we want other nations around the world to join so we don't carry the can exclusively, in terms of our foreign aid, a whole lot of other countries do as well. Because the products the plastic is coming in is not our product, it's frequently a product from some other part of the world."

(Source: RNZI)

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