Samoa Briefs

joyetter@samoanews.com

BLUE SKY SALE IS A BUSINESS MOVE

Apia, SAMOA — The sale of Bluesky Communications to Fijian-owned company Amalgamated Telecom Holding Limited, is but a business move and no matter who buys Bluesky, the Samoa Government is still a shareholder, says Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Mailelegaoi. He said that’s how business is conducted. According to the Prime Minister the government holds a 10% share in Digicel (formally known as New Zealand Telecom). The government was also shocked when the Telecom Company was sold to Digicel, but that’s just how it is. He said it’s understandable why Amper SA sold Bluesky, it’s just business.

 “This is how businesses operate, it’s sold to one company and then another company turns around and buys it, it that’s just how it is,” said Tuilaepa.

Last month Bluesky’s parent company Amper SA announced it has accepted a binding offer to sell its South Pacific holdings to Fijian group, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (A.T.H.).

Under the offer, A.T.H. will acquire a controlling interest in Bluesky Pacific Group for approximately USD$79 million.

Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro, CEO of Bluesky Pacific Group, said: “We have fully briefed the Governments, our other local investors and our Bluesky team about the transaction. It is my and the managements team’s priority to ensure that we continue to look after the interests of all our shareholders, staff, and customers throughout this process. Our teams remain focused on continuing to serve and add value to our customers and our local communities.”

aSAMOA HOSTS PACIFIC ISLANDS SURGEONS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

Samoa’s Ministry of Health is hosting the 24th Pacific Islands Surgeons Association (PISA) Conference for three days in Samoa. The association was established in 1992, and its first meeting was held in the Cook Islands. Samoa previously hosted this meeting in 1994 and Samoa's efforts in developing its health sector and services had awarded the Ministry of Health with hosting this year's meeting. There are about 200 participants engaging in dialogue and discussions in this week's meeting, which include surgeons from the Pacific Islands as well as those from New Zealand and Australia.

The meeting will look at issues such as providing a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program specific to the needs of surgeons and surgical trainees working in Pacific Island countries; having a primary focus for CME on non-communicable diseases; discussing sustainable workforce issues including barriers to female doctors opting to train as surgeons and possible mechanisms to overcome these; providing sessions specific to the learning needs of Pacific Islands based surgical trainees and opportunities for trainees to present their surgical research for peer review; sharing lessons learnt from medical responses to recent disaster situations and providing opportunities for Pacific Island surgeons and surgical trainees to develop/maintain support networks amongst each other and with surgeons from New Zealand and Australia in order to ameliorate the isolation of their practice and build regional networks for clinical advice.

SAMOA’S WATERFRONT PLAN RELEASED

Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Mailelegaoi released the Draft Waterfront Plan last week, officially opening Phase II consultations for the project. The Draft Waterfront Plan is a strategic document that will guide government planning and waterfront users on future developments along the Apia Waterfront and how it is envisaged to be transformed in the next 10 to 15 years. The key objective of the Waterfront Plan is to enhance the remaining public spaces along Mulinuu to Taumeasina for community use and small commercial opportunities; places for communities to gather, play, relax, perform, work and trade. 

Tuilaepa said these active places will offer attractive and unique spaces for Samoans and visitors to enjoy — creating a sense of pride and ownership of what Apia has to offer. The vision of the Waterfront Plan is to create an attractive destination connecting people to unique places and Samoan experiences.

VISION FOR THE PLAN

The Waterfront is similar to an ula nifo; the beads represent activity nodes along the waterfront while the teeth are access points linking the Waterfront to inner Apia. Five overarching goals have been identified to help achieve the vision of the Waterfront Plan and guide future desired outcomes for the whole waterfront. 

These goals are: Create a unique Samoan experience; Create an inclusive, safe and clean waterfront; Enhance public domain for community use; Support opportunities for local business initiatives; and Connect people to the sea.

The Draft Waterfront Plan has identified four distinctive areas along the waterfront for redevelopment of the Mulinu’u Waterfront – to be enhanced as a contemplative environment for people to relax away from the busy center of Apia. Apia Waterfront Central – will be the central focal point of the waterfront and will include a redesigned Savalalo market and bus stop and a central park at Eleele fou where several activities will be integrated.

Apia Waterfront Harbor - will promote and encourage Samoan arts and heritage and at the Port and Marina area, it will include a pocket beach and other public facilities. Vaiala Waterfront – will retain its urban village setting but will be enhanced to include a mini park and a protected swimming area. This area will also be connected to Taumeasina to ensure continuity along the waterfront.

This second phase of stakeholder engagement is to gauge feedback on the draft plan, particularly on proposed concept plans, strategies and policies. There will be opportunities to meet the project team next week, according to the government release.

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