Pacific News Briefs
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has vented his rage against the media and the Police, accusing them of giving Samoa a bad name around the world, with what he claims are repeated media reports on rape and incest.
For four weeks now, Tuilaepa has suspended the Police weekly press conferences, as a result.
He expressed his concern over the negative impact of media reports on incest and rape cases that have been reported each day, over the last several weeks.
During his weekly press conference on Wednesday afternoon, he said: “These negative reports give the impression that our country is not a place people would like to visit, and this is what the newspapers and radio are doing.”
He also said: “In New Zealand, with its thousands and thousands of citizens, you hardly hear of any incest cases being reported like here in (Samoa).
“In fact, the Police’s weekly reports of the crimes being committed around Samoa that are being reported by the media, are always on rape and incest.
“If there are five sex cases announced during the weekly press conference, the media will publicize them, each day of the week.”
“This gives outsiders the impression that Samoa, while it is a small country, there are a lot of rapes being committed,” he said.
(Source: Samoa Observer)
SAMOA AIRWAYS SECURES NEW AIRCRAFT
Samoa Airways will have its own aircraft — a 737 – from Icelandair Group when the renamed national carrier returns to international flights in November.
Details of the arrangement with Icelandair have yet to be made public but in confirming the arrangement the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi told Talamua.com today that Samoa Airways would start with one aircraft.
“The plan is for Samoa Airways to concentrate on the Apia-Auckland, Apia-Sydney and Apia Brisbane routes,” he said. “Research confirmed that the three routes have huge revenue potentials and it fits perfectly with our partnership with Fiji Airways.
“That partnership is designed for both airlines to share the revenues in terms of tickets sold,” Tuilaepa said.
Icelandair initially made contact with the government for quite some time now with the Vice President Halldor Daddi Halldorsson meeting the Prime Minister in Apia as late as last year.
And since then the company have kept their hopes alive.
Icelandair Group is not new to the region.
It has a successful partnership with Air Niugini, which has proven to be catalyst for Papua New Guinea’s international connections and for that country’s booming tourism industry. And Icelandair currently leases ﬁve Boeing aircrafts to Air Niugini since their partnership started in 2007.
“The primary target is for our national carrier to be resurrected properly, not only as a proﬁt making entity, but most importantly to provide affordable airfares for our people and our tourists,” added the Prime Minister.
“I am mindful of the challenges and obstacles and government is looking at all options to realize its targeted mission.
“A reliable, consistent, affordable air fares and cost effective air services whilst exceeding our stakeholders’ expectation is paramount to government,” he said.
(Source: M.P.M.C. Press Secretary)
SAMOA PM MEETS PACIFIC GAMES COUNCIL
Although a decision is forthcoming on whether Samoa will host the 2019 Pacific Games, the government has gone ahead and appointed a Planning Committee.
The committee will lead the preparations for the country to host the Games. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi is the chairman, and members include the Finance and Sports Minister, Sili Epa Tuioti and Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio respectively as well as representatives from the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture and SASNOC, Samoa Association of Sports and Olympic Committee.
Following a closed door meeting, yesterday, with the visiting Pacific Games Council President Vidha Lakhan, the Prime Minister says he has been assured by Lakhan that Samoa has the advantage over the other contenders, (Tahiti & Guam) also vying for the hosting right.
“I am mindful that the Pacific Games Council also has their due diligence and the visit is to fulfill their Council’s constitution that each country is treated equally and fairly,” said the Prime Minister yesterday.
“But I have been assured (by Lakhan) that we have the advantage when it comes to our sports facilities, especially after the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
“I remain confident that we have a better chance of bringing the games to Apia,” the Prime Minister revealed during his weekly program with Talamua.com
Another advantage that the Prime Minister is taking into account is situation in Tahiti. Reportedly the Tahiti Olympic Committee is still waiting for a formal endorsement from their government of their proposal.
“The Tahiti Government’s silence is a telling story,” said Tuilaepa. “And the Games Council is not blinded by that fact.”
He noted that unlike Tahiti, the Samoa Government is on board taking the lead to ensure that Samoa’s bid wins.
Tuilaepa reiterated that Samoa’s track record in hosting international conferences and sporting events coupled with their state of the art sports facilities is another huge advantage and this is additional leverage.
The meeting is the first face to face sit down between the Prime Minister and Lakhan, since Tuilaepa wrote to Lakhan to support Samoa’s bid.
In the meantime, SASNOC is calling a press conference to reveal all.
And the Prime Minister is expecting a formal decision from the Pacific Games Council as early as next week or before the end of the month.
(Source: M.P.M.C. Press Secretary)
MANAGER REFUSES BANK SLIP WRITTEN IN TE REO
A school principal who filled out a bank withdrawal slip in te reo Māori was refused service at a bank in Whakatāne.
Ripeka Lessels said the bank manager at the Credit Union Central told her if she did not re-write her withdrawal slip in English he would not accept it.
She said this was blatantly racist.
"I said to him, no that's not necessary, I'm not going to write it in English because Māori is an official language of Aotearoa."
She took to social media and posted a video of her encounter, which has since been viewed more than 30,000 times and has received hundreds of messages in response.
Lessels said the manager did agree that Māori was an official language, but would still not accept it. "This is the first time and the first bank in 30 years that has ever refused to take anything I've written in te reo Māori."
One woman who was disappointed by Ms. Ripeka's story was Charlene Rewiri-Ulufonua, who last month gave Kiwibank in Whakatāne a check written in te reo Māori.
She said the check was a gift given to the kura where she works and was the first time she had ever given a bank something written in te reo.
"When I handed the bank teller the slip she got her manager to come over and asked if they could still process it and their response was yes.
"The bank manager thought it was great and said they would have to get someone to translate it but they had no issues at all," Rewiri-Ulufonua said.
Since the encounter, Credit Union Central has made contact with Lessels and apologized.
In a statement Credit Union Central said the attitude of the bank manager was unacceptable and did not align with their values.
It said the bank has always valued te reo Māori as an official language and is looking into ways to make sure an incident like this does not happen again.