23 Jun 2022

Pacific News in Brief

11:50 am on 23 June 2022

FijiFirst gears up for election, Samoan tourism pleads for help, and huge renewable energy plan in American Samoa

Ruling Fiji party launches election website despite no election date

Fiji's ruling FijiFirst party has officially launched its new website ahead of the 2022 General Election.

General Secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum also announced that they have opened applications for interested candidates.

Photo: FijiFirst

Sayed-Khaiyum says the website will have testimonials from the public on the functioning of the party.

He says FijiFirst will be transparent when it comes to donations.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the website outlines who can and cannot donate.

No date has been set as yet for the election.

Samoa tourism boss looking for help

The President of the Samoa Hotel and Hospitality Association, Tupa'I Sale'imoa Va'ai, has urged the sector to work harder to find ways to bolster their services.

This comes as the government looks to slash the Samoa Tourism Authority budget by more than 10 million tālā for the 2022/2023 budget.

Parliament is debating the national budget this week and is expected to be passed before the end of the month.

Tupa'I says the tourism industry will be knocking on doors for help, including the government.

However, the Minister of Tourism, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster says the authority's budget is sufficient, and says there's a lot of unused funding from the previous year.

Voters ask for female quota to be thrown out

In Samoa, voters in the Vaimauga District are calling for a repeal of the constitutional 10 percent quota for women.

During its Electoral Commission of Inquiry, held in Vaimauaga, voters voiced their concerns to the Commission to remove the quota and allow women to run for office on their own merits.

They claim the 10 percent mandate has created a lot of problems including the recent political crisis after the general election last April.

Talamua reports that Ane Uele of Faatoia said given what happened in the women members after last year's general election, the quota has become a joke and has belittled the respect for women.

Faatagata Taualofa told the Commission it was a good initiative when it started but it was open to political manipulation to secure party seats.

Japanese firms backing American Samoa renewable energy project

Two major Japanese companies, Nippon Koei and Renova, are behind a $US100 million renewable energy project that will use wind to generate electricity and sell the power to the American Samoa Power Authority.

It would be a 42mw wind and battery storage farm that would be located in a mountainous area west of Aoloao called Manunu.

Villages that lay claim to the area are Leone, Auma, Aoloao and Fagamalo.

The company is looking to use 30 acres of land to install 10 turbines and access roads.

The original location for the project was close to Aasu village, however, the Manunu ridge - west of Aoloau village - has been chosen as the new location to minimise the impact on residents.

A company called Tutuila Wind Energy has been formed locally to develop the project.

Fiji finds footballers in Manchester and the US for Cup squad

Fiji has searched the world for players for young players to join the squad to play in the Oceania Under-19s Cup to be held in Tahiti in September.

Players from New Zealand, Australia, the United States and England, have boosted the squad.

They include Oliver McFadyen who is based in Manchester and who's grandfather was Fijian.

Fiji's men's national coach Flemming Serritslev says they have named the best 25 players, but it is possible the squad may change between now and September.