Pacific News Briefs

COMPULSORY VOTING LOOMS IN SAMOA
compiled by Samoa News staff

Apia, SAMOA — Mandatory voting for all registered voters in Samoa will be a must in the upcoming 2021 General Elections, subject to approval of the Electoral Bill 2018 now before parliament.

The 2018 Bill will repeal the 55-year old Electoral Act 1963 and contains close to 80 amendments.

One the amendments is for compulsory voting for all registered voters cited in Clause 63, which provides that it is a compulsory for every registered person to cast a vote.

“Failure to do so will incur a penalty of $100.00 unless valid or sufficient reasons for not voting are provided to the Commissioner,” according to the new pending law.

Currently, its compulsory for those who have satisfied the eligibility requires under the electoral act to register but not mandatory for them to cast their ballots during elections.

Also included in the new amendments is the time frame for voters transfer.

(Source: Press Secretariart)

CRYPTOCURRENCY WARNING

The Central Bank of Samoa (C.B.S.) yesterday issued a warning about the rising number of cryptocurrency promotions taking place in Samoa. 

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money that is designed to be secure and, in many cases, anonymous. It is a currency associated with the Internet that uses cryptography, the process of converting legible information into an almost un-crackable code, to track purchases and transfers.

According to the Central Bank of Samoa, cryptocurrency remains unregulated, which makes things even more difficult.

“It has come to our attention that there are promotions such as Onecoin cryptocurrency that are currently being promoted in Samoa,” the Bank warns. 

“How it works is that people are encouraged to sign up an account and purchase a package of tokens, these tokens can then be used to invest in a cryptocurrency, as the value of the cryptocurrency goes up, so too will your proposed reward. 

“In essence, you invest in the cryptocurrency and are guaranteed a substantial return on the rewards in a certain period of time.” 

The C.B.S. advises that such a scheme is very risky and people who invest in it stand to lose their investment. 

Cryptocurrency at this current stage is unregulated.

CLAIMS RUBBISHED

Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, has called some Members of Parliament liars. She has also accused them of being irresponsible.

Fiame did not name anyone in particular. 

But she was responding to claims from certain Members of Parliament that the Alienation of Customary Land Amendment Bill 2017 violates the Constitution. 

“Mr. Speaker, some Members have said we have overstepped the Constitution,” she said. 

 “I am in shock because these comments are brainwashing the public.” 

This is far from the truth, she said.

“Why were we elected by our constituencies? To make hard decisions for the betterment of Samoa, and that is the spirit behind this Bill. 

“However, some comments that been uttered are literally brainwashing our Chiefs and our children. They are irresponsible comments. 

 “This is not what the Members of Parliament should be doing; lying to the public. It is not true that the Constitution has been violated. I want to set the record straight, the Constitution has not been violated.

 “We can change the Constitution, but in accordance with the law.” 

The Bill in question is designed to strengthen the provisions relating to leasing and licensing of customary land and facilitate the mortgaging of leases over customary land. 

In Parliament yesterday, Fiame said there has been a mixture of comments on the issue, which is understandable given the Bill affects all Samoans. 

“Overall, it’s evident that the members are concerned that we might lose our customary lands,” she said.

 “The Prime Minister has been vocal about the issue not only in Parliament, but also outside of this place, expressing the views of the Government on the said issue.” 

The Deputy Prime Minster, who is also the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, made it clear there is no hidden agenda. 

 “There is nothing in the Bill that would allow for the customary lands to be sold or lost to the investors.” 

Fiame said other M.Ps have raised concerns about the beneficiaries of the leases. 

(Source: Samoa Observer)

SAMOA'S HISTORIC AGGIE GREY'S HOTEL TO REOPEN IN JULY

Samoa's historic Aggie Grey's Hotel, which was badly damaged by Cyclone Gita is set to reopen in July.

The Samoa government newspaper Savali reports work has been going on to restore the waterfront hotel after it was badly flooded during the cyclone last month.

Most of the Sheraton-run resort in the capital Apia was flooded and furniture and equipment damaged in the storm.

(Source: RNZI)

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