22 Oct 2021

In brief: More Pacific News for 22nd October

6:49 pm on 22 October 2021

70 in isolation in Samoa after escape from quarantine: Clamp goes on illegal builders in Bougainville's Buka: Tributes flow in the Cook Islands for New Zealand doctor who passed away: CNMI political scrap hots up and Moana Pasifika signs three more.

70 in isolation in Samoa after escape from quarantine

Samoa's National Emergency Operations Committee says 70 people are now in isolation at quarantine sites after being possible contacts of a man who escaped from quarantine and moved about freely before being caught.

Chairman of the committee, Agafili Shem Leo, says the man had taken a taxi into town, visited his family, a wholesale store, and a telephone company before being apprehended by police at a Western Union outlet.

The man's entire family have now been placed in quarantine along with others identified mainly through video surveillance footage.

Agafili says the committee has advised the government to delay planned repatriation flights as the quarantine sites are filling out with locals who have been in contact with the escapee.

Clamp goes on illegal builders in Bougainville's Buka

The Department of Lands and Physical Planning in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville is clamping down on illegal building in Buka.

Along with the Buka Urban Town Council it has issued a 'Stop Work Notice' on all illegal and unapproved developments in Bougainville's main town.

It applies to business houses, land owners and developers, along with the general public.

Anyone wanting to make changes will need the approval of both the Physical Planning office and the Building Board.

Those who don't comply have been told they risk fine of up to 1,390 US dollars for individuals and 2,780 dollars for corporate entities.

Tributes flow in the Cook Islands for New Zealand doctor who passed away

Tributes have been flowing in the Cook Islands for a New Zealand doctor who died recently.

Tauranga-based orthopaedic surgeon Andy MacDiarmid, is reported to have operated on more than 3,000 Cook Islanders over 30 years.

The Health Minister, Rose Toki Brown, says Dr MacDiarmid was a great friend of the Cook Islands and helped many of its people.

She says when he returned to Tauranga he he would operate on Cook Islanders there - replacing their hips or knees - and then have them stay at his home while they recuperated.

She says most recently he has done hip replacements for the Queen's Representative - Sir Tom Marsters - and local identity Stephen Kavana - Captain Moko.

Local doctors who worked with Dr MacDiarmid are full of praise for his service and the training, skills and mentoring he gave them.

One, resident surgeon Dr Deacon Teapa, said, "Dr MacDiarmid was my mentor and personal friend and a 'great son' of the Cook Islands people."

"I am lost for words on how to describe this true Cook Islander and a Cook Islands warrior. He had a huge impact on my training in New Zealand and his ongoing support has been so overwhelming."

CNMI political scrap hots up

The lieutenant governor in the Northern Marianas, Arnold Palacios, has formally split from the governor, Ralph Torres, saying he will run for governor in next year's elections.

Mr Palacios' running mate will be the mayor of Saipan, David Apatang, with the two running as independents under the slogan, "Rebuilding Trust."

The lieutenant governor said they couldn't keep quiet any longer about the issues besetting the Torres administration.

He claims many people have lost confidence in the Torres administration.

Torres had earlier announced his intention to seek re-election with Senator Vinnie Vinson Sablan as his running mate.

Moana Pasifika signs three more

Jack Lam is the most-capped player in the 2021 Manu Samoa squad.

Jack Lam Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Manu Samoa trio Jack Lam, Alamanda Motuga and Henry Time-Stowers are the latest players to sign with Moana Pasifika ahead of the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season.

Veteran flanker Jack Lam spent the past two seasons with Japanese club NEC Green Rockets before returning to New Zealand earlier this year, making his way back to Waikato for the 2021 NPC season.

The former Test captain is joined by Counties Manukau Alamanda Motuga and Canterbury's Henry Time-Stowers.

All three played for Samoa against the Māori All Blacks and Tonga in June and July to help secure qualification for the next Rugby World Cup.

More players are expected to be announced next week.