23 Feb 2021

In brief: News from around the Pacific for 23 February

10:13 pm on 23 February 2021
A RSIPF patrol boat and fast craft patrolling the Solomon Islands side of the common border with PNG with Bougainville in the background.

A RSIPF patrol boat and fast craft patrolling the Solomon Islands side of the common border with PNG with Bougainville in the background. Photo: RSIPF Media

Diplomat looks to Honiara for guidance on Bougainville border issue

The Solomon Islands' High Commissioner in Papua New Guinea is looking for clarity on traditional fishing access around the country's shared border with Bougainville.

Fishing grounds around the Solomons' Shortland Islands have long been used by traditional border crossers from both sides.

But fishers from the autonomous Papua New Guinea region claim they are increasingly being harrassed by Solomons' police

Police maritime patrols have been enforcing the closure of the border due to Covid-19.

The Solomons' High Commissioner to PNG, Barnabas Anga, said he had spoken with traditional border crossers on a recent trip to Bougainville.

He relayed that they expressed concern at being forcibly stopped by armed Solomons' police in what they considered their territory.

Anga said he was waiting for guidance on the matter from the Solomons' parliament which meets next month.

"To give some guidance as to what are the best options for our community leaders to reach some understanding to enable traditional border crossers to continue without any breach of any protocols from both governments."

French Polynesia reports three more covid deaths

Three more Covid-19 related deaths have been reported in French Polynesia over the past week.

The latest, on the weekend, brings the death toll to 138.

Total cases now have reached 18,354 with 58 active cases. There are 11 people in hospital including five in intensive care.

Meanwhile, nearly 6000 people have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and more than 2100 now have had both jabs.

Cooks flight resumption approved

A flight bringing passengers from Auckland to Rarotonga has been approved by the Cook Islands government.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration ammended the inwards travel advisory to allow entry from tomorrow.

Flights had been suspended after the recent Auckland covid scare.

The usual entry requirements remain in place for Cook Islanders and work and residence permit holders.

All passengers will be required to obtain a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure from Auckland.

Entry into the country are for those who meet the above criteria and have been in New Zealand and/or the Cook Islands for the last 14 days.

Arriving passengers will also be required to undertake another test on day six upon their arrival to the Cooks.

Samoa woman changes plea, admits to killing her baby

A Samoan woman in her early 30s has pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter following the death of her one year old baby last year.

The court has ordered name suppression for the woman who denied the same charge when she first appeared before a judge in July 2020.

The police, at the time, said the child was hit on the head with a broom handle by the defendant who was pregnant for her third child.

The woman will reappear in court next month for sentencing.

Meanwhile a 62-year-old father was sentenced to jail last Friday for six and half years after he pleaded guilty to one charge of manslaughter relating to the death of the defendant's 14 year old son.

The deceased had suffered head injuries after being thrown with a rock by the defendant.

Police say the father was intoxicated at the time of the offence.