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Regional News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff


Bluesky American Samoa is pleased to welcome our new Finance Controller, Joseph Tuiteleleapaga. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and an M.B.A. with 20+ years of experience in accounting and finance.

Prior to joining our Bluesky family, Joseph recently held the position of Production Planner/Controller for Samoa Tuna Processors, Inc., served as Finance Manager for the Arizona State Government, as Accounting Supervisor for Roosevelt School District in Phoenix, Arizona, as Senior Financial Analyst for The Dial Corporation in Scottsdale, Arizona and various other accounting positions throughout his career.

Joe brings the expertise along with the hands-on business experience of a seasoned accountant. This combination of skills and experience will be an important addition to our management team and will support his success as the Financial Controller of Bluesky American Samoa. He is enthusiastic and excited about his new role.

For more information or details, please call 699-2759.

(Source: Blueksy media)


Tonga has the highest number of Mormons in the world on a per capita basis, according to researchers.

Its 64,000 followers make up just over 60 percent of the kingdom's population.

Samoa, American Samoa, Niue and the Cook Islands are the other top five countries for membership of the Latter-day Saints Church.

A Colorado-based researcher Matt Martinich said the church traditionally keeps members on its records, even if individuals no longer associate themselves with the church.

"Tonga church reported membership constitutes about 60% of the population, so although if you look at the number of active members, that percentage is much lower," Mr Martinich said.

"It's more like about 20% because about two thirds of the members of the church in Tonga don't regularly attend church or they identify with some other religious group even though their names are still on the church records."

According to the figures, the Utah-based church has its biggest adherence in Pacific Island countries, followed by Chile.

(Source: RNZI)


A former Commonwealth secretary-general says Pacific Island countries shouldn't be pushed too abruptly in their democratic development.

Sir Don McKinnon this week delivered the latest in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Lecture series at New Zealand's parliament in Wellington.

In his lecture 'Dark Clouds Over Democracy', Sir Don said democracy was facing big challenges but that it still offered a system everyone could participate in.

Stressing that developing democracies in the Pacific should be given time to find their feet, he said developed democracies should not adopt the approach of wielding a big stick.

"It's getting alongside them, sending someone on behalf of the UN, on behalf of the Commonwealth, on behalf of the Pacific Forum, to work alongside them, someone whose got authority - as I said, a former president or former prime minister who can work with them over a period of time and slowly turn them around. You cannot do it abruptly, " said Sir Don McKinnon.

In his lecture, Sir Don described how there was no one single template for democracy, because round pegs didn't always fit into square holes.

"The important thing," he explained afterwards, "is to make sure that when you think you've got the structure right, is everyone involved?"

"You've just got to make sure you don't marginalize an island group or a linguistic group or even a racial group. Most of the Pacific are pretty similar but you can inadvertently do that sort of thing," said Sir Don McKinnon.

(Source: RNZI)


The American Samoa Visitors Bureau will join neighboring countries from around the Pacific for the 4th South Pacific Tourism Exchange in Sydney, Australia set for May 19-20.

This is according to ASVB Executive Director David Vaeafe.

Organized by the South Pacific Tourism Organization, the event has attracted 68 sellers and 60-plus international buyers. The event will be held at the International Convention Center on Darling Harbor. Among SPTO member countries attending are American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands and Tonga.

The ASVB says that Australia-based travel writers Deborah Dickson-Smith and Simon Mallender took the plunge in American Samoa's National Marine Sanctuary and wrote about the experience in their article "Bommies Away" in the latest quarterly edition of Australian travel magazine 'Get Lost’.

“As I swim through the shallows of Fagatele Bay near Pago Pago, sunlight plays on pristine coral. A huge school of convict surgeonfish, each of its members on a vertically striped uniform, moves towards us and gracefully parts to pass by on either side,” the article says. “The coral is in impeccable condition — not a breakage, chip or scratch seen — and vibrantly colored."

(Source: ASVB media release)