27 Jan 2021

In brief: News from around the Pacific 27 January

1:47 pm on 27 January 2021

Cabinet reshuffle in Tonga, no new cases of Covid-19 in Fiji, Samoa govt considers downsizing some Ministries and more.

The Tonga Parliament in session.

The Tonga Parliament in session. Photo: Tonga Parliament

Cabinet reshuffle in Tonga

Tonga's King Tupou VI has approved a Cabinet reshuffle.

Matangi Tonga reports the former Minister of Trade and Economic Development, Samiu Kuita Vaipulu becomes the new Minister of Justice and Prisons.

Samiu Vaipulu replaces Vuna Fa'otusia, who also resigns as Deputy Prime Minister, for health reasons.

Fa'otusia is still a member of parliament, the No 7 People's Representative for Tongatapu.

Meanwhile, a newcomer, Tatafu Toma Moeaki, an unelected MP, receives the Trade and Economic Development portfolio.

Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa has the privilege to appoint two unelected members to his Cabinet.

The other is the current Minister of Health, Dr 'Amelia Tu'ipulotu Afuha'amango.

The King has also approved the appointment of Viliami Manuopangai Hingano as the new Governor of Ha'apai, effective from yesterday (26 January 2021)

He replaces Dr Mohenoa Puloka.

Fiji reports no new cases of Covid-19

The Fiji government says there have been no new cases of Covid-19 since the last update on January 22nd, and there are currently no active cases.

Fiji has had 55 cases in total, with 53 recoveries and 2 deaths, since its first case was reported on March 19th last year.

The last 37 cases have been international travel associated cases detected in border quarantine.

It has been 282 days since the last case was detected outside border quarantine on April 18th.

A total of 25,014 laboratory tests have been conducted, with a weekly average of 1120 tests over the last 2 weeks.

Samoa government looks at downsizing some Ministries

The Samoan government is looking at downsizing some of its ministries and creating two new ministerial portfolios to cater for new ministries.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said in a television broadcast last year that this was the intention of the Human Rights Protection Party, if it returns to power after April's general election.

Minister of Education Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio this week confirmed that a review is being carried out to split the ministry which is likely to see Sports and Culture under a new ministry.

Tuilaepa revealed last year that the Constitution will be amended to increase the number of Cabinet Ministers from 13 to 15 in the next Parliament sitting.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is the other ministry that is being targeted for downsizing.

More relief supplies reach schools in Fiji's Bua region.

Schools in Fiji's Bua region have received relief packages filled with essentials in response to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Yasa.

The youth-led non-governmental organisation Ignite4Change partnered with Fiji-Asia Pacific Youth Service and Desire to Inspire Network for this community drive to Bua.

This month, the team handed out 16 bails filled with stationery, clothes, kitchenware and other essentials to four schools.

Sawani and Nasarawaqa villages were also visited, comprising 72 and 81 families respectively.

Ignite4Change co-ordinator Broderick Mervyn said families were grateful for the timely assistance from the respective organisations.