Pacific Briefs June 7

Samoa Health confirms more Covid cases

Samoa’s Department of Health confirmed a further 128 cases of community transmission of Covid-19 in its latest report over a 48-hour period.

Ten people are in controlled isolation at Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital.

The cumulative number of positive cases, including those detected at the border, is 13,924. The death toll remains at 27.

Of the total community cases reported, 9.7% are children aged 0-4 years and approximately 1.6% are believed to have been admitted.

No Covid-19 related deaths have been reported in this age group.

US government personnel return home

All US government personnel who were in American Samoa to help combat the community spread of Covid have now returned home.

The first group to arrive in the territory on March 4 included doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and various US government agencies.

The official in charge of the federal team, Allison Pfaendler received an honorary title of matai by the Mauga paramount chief of Pago Pago.

She said she had no doubts that if a future Covid outbreak occurs in the territory, the Department of Health and LBJ Hospital could deal with it on their own.

“I have a lot of faith in this organization here to respond to future Covid surges, even without us they would have done a great job. They were already set up for success before we arrived and we have just added additional support. “

As of May 30, there were 6,142 Covid cases of which 111 were active while the rest had recovered. The death toll remained at 31.

American Samoa police officers arrested for assault

Four police officers, including a police captain, in American Samoa have been arrested for assault.

American Samoa Police Headquarters
Photo: Provided

Samoa News reports that the four officers are Captain Margie Alofaituli and Officers Faau Levi, Elleryquinn Histake and Dustin Maiava.

The charges relate to a man accused of assaulting his girlfriend last year. It is alleged that the man was injured at the hands of the police.

Our correspondent said there was no explanation in court papers as to why it took prosecutors a year to charge the four officers.

The United States will hold a military exercise in Palau

The U.S. Army will hold its first Patriot live-fire exercise in Palau next Wednesday.

The Guam Daily Post reports that the Okinawa-based Air Defense Artillery Battalion will be in the Micronesian nation to conduct the exercise.

The Patriot live-fire exercise is the first of its kind to be conducted in Palau and will be followed by another first – the Republic’s inclusion in Operation Valiant Shield.

The message reports Palau’s Ambassador to the United States, Hersey Kyota, saying the growing American military presence in Palau is a good sign – it’s a sign that Palau is strategically important to the United States.

Kyota, one of the longest-serving ambassadors to the United States, is also the dean of the American diplomatic corps.

He said it is no secret that China wants to tighten its control over the island and region and said the US National Security Council has said Palau is more important than ever in the interest of the security of the United States and its allies in Indo. -Pacific region.

Public finance problems in New Caledonia as deficits swell

The Territorial Chamber of Accounts of New Caledonia has warned of a critical situation in public finances, with deficits having exploded.

In a report commissioned by the French High Commission, the Chamber urged the creation of new revenue streams to help balance the books.

The Chamber noted that the overall deficit in social accounts had quintupled between 2017 and 2020, with social protection schemes close to default.

He noted that the local social fund, known as Cafat, has a structural deficit of $170 million, with the Covid-19 pandemic accounting for around $45 million.

The report says that with reserves depleted at the start of the pandemic, New Caledonia in 2020 benefited from grants from France and a $257 million loan from the French Development Agency.

To help balance the books, he adds that nearly $100 million in new revenue needs to be raised starting this year.

Samoa government criticizes four different versions of controversial land and title bills

Samoa’s Associate Minister for Works, Transport and Infrastructure said four different versions of the controversial land and title bills could not be attributed to typing errors.

Niuava Eti Malolo made this statement in parliament during the deliberation of a report on the various copies of bills aimed at reorganizing the judicial system.

Niuava blamed former Legislative Assembly Office Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi for the oversight that led to the various copies.

He said that if the bills had followed normal procedures, the “changes” would have been flagged.

MP Peseta Vaifou claimed that since the bills were passed towards the end of the legislature, there was not enough time to make changes in parliament.

But Niuava questioned why the previous government rushed the bills.

He called it reckless and a lack of accountability to Parliament.

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