Pacific Islands News Briefs
SAMOAN POET HIGHLIGHTS MOTHER'S TREATMENT
A Samoan poet has published a heartfelt piece of poetry in motion on social media in response to her mother's residential care home subsidy application being declined in New Zealand.
Titled Dear Loyal New Zealand Citizen, Grace Taylor reads a letter written to the Ministry of Social Development with a video of her mother slowly dancing the Samoan siva.
Grace Taylor was motivated to share on social media about her mother's unfair treatment over the subsidy, given she has Alzheimer's and no direct family member in New Zealand to care for her.
She said that the Ministry of Social Development needed to recognize that people had different and unique situations, including those of Pacific heritage, that were not taken into account.
"My mother's situation is quite unique as is everyone's and I don't think that the current legislation that exists for that subsidy takes that into consideration and as a result my mother is not getting a cent from the government towards her care and has to wait four years to reapply and this is the story of so many New Zealanders."
Ms Taylor said she planned to start lobbying for legislative change and encouraged others who might be in similar situations to do the same.
AUSTRALIA RENEWS COMMITMENT TO PACIFIC CLIMATE
At the Planning and Steering Committee meetings for the Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) held last week in Tonga, the Australian Government confirmed that they will continue the excellent work of the program into a second four year phase beginning 1 July 2018.
The aim of COSPPac is to enhance the capacity of Pacific Islands to manage and mitigate the impacts of climate variability and tidal events and working together with members to build tools that can forecast and report on climate, tides and the ocean. It will also determine how best to communicate this information to communities, businesses and Governments.
“The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has a longstanding relationship with Pacific Island partners, so we are glad to be able to continue to work together to improve observations, reliability, and application of seasonal climate and ocean information throughout the region,” said the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s General Manager of Community Forecasts, Mr Neil Plummer.
Early warning of changes in rainfall, air and ocean temperatures and sea levels help farmers, fishermen, communities and governments to prepare for the season ahead. In addition, the Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project has been critical to providing Pacific Islands with real-time sea level information and long-term trends.
“Geoscience Australia has an important role to play by providing information about movement of the land which needs to be considered when measuring changes in sea
COSPPac2 will continue to be managed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in partnership with Geoscience Australia, SPC and SPREP, and guided by the broader Australian Pacific Climate Change Action Plan (APCCAP), which seeks to improve Pacific Island resilience to disaster and climate challenges.
SAMOA PM DOWNPLAYS TOP COP POSITION QUESTIONS
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has downplayed questions raised about the advertisement of the post of Police Commissioner.
Tuilaepa, who is also the Minister of Police, said the advertising of such a position is the responsibility of employees. It was unclear which employees he was referring to.
But he said it was a “non-issue”.
Pointing to questions raised in the Samoa Observer, Tuilaepa said: “The Samoa Observer wants the advertisement to be printed with them because they need it, but the advertisement was published on other newspapers.”
The Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Aiono Mose Su’a, said the Commissioner of Police post was advertised on the P.S.C. website and Newsline.
The advertisement was published from 23 March with the closing date of 24 April, 2018.
“It was advertised in a special Public Service Official Circular for the post as is done for all C.E.O. ranked posts, the P.S.C. website and in a local newspaper - the Newsline in this instance,” Aiono said.
“This is the arrangement before my time apparently to control expensive advertisement costs. The advertisement was not run in the Samoa Observer.”
He also made it clear the P.S.C. helps when required with the recruitment and selection process for the Police Commissioner post.
(Source: Samoa Observer)
THREE YEARS IN JAIL FOR SEX OFFENDER IN SAMOA
A man convicted of sexual connections involving two young girls living in his family has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Sentencing was handed down by Supreme Court Justice, Vui Clarence Nelson. Aleki Laki pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawful sexual connection with dependent family members, who are under the ages of 21.
According to Justice Vui, the two girls involved in this matter were at the time living with the defendant and his wife.
Justice Vui issued a suppression order on the publication of details of the victims, including the place of the offending.
“The unchallenged Police Summary of Facts says that in relation to the primary victim whom I will call Victim A between 1 October and 10 October 2015 while she was asleep with her cousins in the living room of the defendant’s house, the defendant approached her late at night,” noted Justice Vui.
He said Victim A tried to push him away but the defendant was too strong and had sex with the young girl.
According to the Police Summary of Facts, there were two other incidents involving the defendant and Victim A.
The next one occurred between 1 November and 30 November 2015 and again between 1 December and 31 December 2015 again late at night and while the victim was sleeping.
The matter involving the second Victim B occurred on a different date in December, it was on Sunday, 20 December about 7:00 p.m.
“At that time, the victim was walking from her house on an inland road and met the defendant.”
“He asked her where she had gone and she said she went to get some clothes.”
“The defendant then said to her ‘a’o se kisi foi alu ai’.
“The victim responded if he was not satisfied with her aunty whom he was married to.”
The summary relates the defendant then went and sat on a coconut tree trunk and called the victim over and she obliged.
The victim went over, sat on his lap and he started kissing her and had sexual intercourse with her.
“Afterwards, the defendant dropped the victim off to where she was headed. She later returned to the defendant’s house.”
“The matter came to light and was reported to the Police around February 2016.”
“Following the investigation, the defendant was charged and initially entered not guilty pleas to the charges.”
“Subsequently, he changed plea to guilty when the matter came on for trial in April this year.”
“File also shows there was a period where a warrant was issued for the defendant’s non-appearance and this probably accounts for the delay in dealing with this matter, which dates back to 2015.”
“The purposes and principles of sentencing that apply to this case are firstly that the sentence should hold the defendant accountable for the harm he has done.”
“Also to promote in him responsibility and acknowledgment of the harm he has caused.”
“And to denounce the conduct that he engaged in with these young girls living in his family,” said Justice Vui.
The Supreme Court Justice noted the sentence should also deter the defendant from repeating this in the future and to send a message to all males living with young females and those under their care.
Justice Vui noted that based on the facts and circumstances of this matter, the prosecution has asked that sentence start at five years in prison.
They point to the aggravating factors, which include a significant breach of trust.
“The defendant was a father figure to these girls. His position did not justify his using them as sexual play things.”
MORE THAN 800 TUNA WORKERS IN PNG ARE LAID OFF
More than 800 workers have been laid off at tuna processor in the Papua New Guinea city of Lae.
The PNG Fishing Association says workers at Philippine-owned Frabelle PNG received their last payments on the 27th of April.
The newspaper, The National, said another fish plant in Lae, Majestic Sea Food, also plans to close its doors, leaving hundreds more out of work.
The association's president, Jonathan Manieva, said it's sad to see employees cut off due to a harsh economic reality coupled with "suppressive and depressive" government policy."
Mr. Manieva was particularly critical of the government's rebate scheme policy and efforts to grow the domestic fishing industry.
FIJI NEEDS TO LOOK AT 'BIG PICTURE' OF ANIMAL WELFARE
The dog had to be put down after it was found with a 20-25cm-long cane knife wound that had cut through to its spine, a couple of days after it went missing from its owner's property.
Casey Quimby of Fiji Animals, the organization that the owners took the dog to for treatment, said while these types of incidents aren't necessarily common, Fiji needed to improve standards of animal welfare.
"The two big issues that we have, particularly in Fiji, is one - population control. People can't control their animals or their pets multiplying. And two, we have a lack of vets. We have a very small number of practicing veterinarians."
Casey Quimby said there was also a lot of ignorance around animal welfare in Fiji and more needs to be done to educate people on how to properly care for both pets and farm animals.