Pacific News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

PUBLIC URGED TO HELP 'BROKE' SAMOA RUGBY UNION

The Samoan public is being asked to dig deep to bail out the country's rugby union, which has been labeled "bankrupt" by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Tuilaepa, who is also the chair of the SRU, said the Union cannot afford to pay off debts with banks and also need funds to pay players in the Manu Samoa sevens and fifteens squads.

The Union is holding a fundraising radiothon this week in an attempt to address the union's dire financial situation.

RNZ correspondent in Samoa, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, said the Prime Minister admitted the Union was in a perilous position.

"They did not say how much money they're looking to collect but they need hundreds of thousands of Tala," he said. "The Rugby Union is broke so he (the Prime Minister) doesn't know how to put the situation financially of the Rugby Union.”

Tuilapea said the financial hardship faced by the Union is not something new and was the reason behind the government's attempts to help ease the financial burden.

(Source: RNZI)

SAMOA AIRWAYS 737-800 AIRCRAFT TO ARRIVE AS SCHEDULED

Samoa Airways’ 737-800 aircraft is now on the ground in Milan where it is being prepared for its ferry flight to Samoa.

The aircraft will be depart Europe later this week and is scheduled to land at Faleolo International Airport on Saturday, November 11, (late morning).

The finishing touches to the livery were applied to the airline’s 737-800 over the weekend.

An official launch ceremony will take place at Faleolo International Airport on Monday, November 13, at 10am.

The airline’s inaugural jet service will be flight OL731 on Tuesday, November 14 — from Apia to Auckland.

(Source: SAMOA PRESS SECRETARIAT)

INAUGURAL DRUG COUNSELING TRAINING IN SAMOA

For the next two weeks, representatives from law enforcement agencies, which include police, immigration, customs, health and justice will be the pioneers by taking part in the inaugural Universal Drug Curriculum Training in Samoa.

Three experts from the Colombo Drug Advisory Program are facilitating the training designed for the local stakeholders to:

  • Understand the different dynamics of illicit drug addiction,
  • the consequences of drug abuse, and
  • engaging and working collaboratively with government agencies, non government organizations, and the community in providing treatment and rehabilitation. 

“With this training, you will be professionally equipped to help others with drug addiction and work closely with them to overcome this bondage,” reaffirmed the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, (MPMC) Agafili Shem Leo in his opening remarks.

“The central message overall, is that whoever is encountering an uphill battle against drug addiction, it’s important for them to know that they are not alone, there is help available, they can be freed from it, and we love them,” Agafili said.

He added that Samoa’s isolation is also compromised noting that the country “can no longer depend on its geographic isolation as a buffer, and turn a blind eye to the continuing rise in the use of illegal drugs in the Pacific.

The MPMC Chief Executive said, “Evidence confirms that illicit drugs are in Samoa and people have been using them.

“Last week, Justice Tuala handed down a guilty verdict to two defendants, for smuggling meth into Samoa from a neighboring island. Recent meth seizures in Fiji, French Polynesia, and Tonga suggest that the Pacific Island Countries have been used as staging areas for drug smuggling,” he said.

To that effect Agafili is encouraging the participants to take full advantage of the opportunities.

The United States Government via her US Embassy in Apia is assisting MPMC as facilitators of the initiative.

Said the U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Tony Greubel, “This is a stance shared by both our nations, as you may be aware of the recent declaration by President Donald Trump that the U.S. opioid crisis is a national public health emergency, with an estimated 91 Americans dying daily from opioid involved deaths.

“The scourge of drug addiction knows no race, no color, or national boundary.  It affects us all.  As President Trump said, ‘As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue.’ 

“It is evident from your presence today that Samoa shares this sentiment,” he said.

The training is for two weeks.

(Source: SAMOA PRESS SECRETARIAT

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