9 Jan 2023

Pacific news in brief for January 9

11:47 am on 9 January 2023
Fiji Rugby CEO John O'Connor greets players.

John O'Connor has resigned from his role as Fiji Rugby Chief Executive Photo: Fiji Corrections Service

Cyclone Hale impacts aviation in New Caledonia.

The storm prompted the domestic carrier Air Caledonie to cancel all its flights scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

The airline plans to add extra flights today.

Because of the strong winds, yesterday's Aircalin flight from French Polynesia was forced to abandon its attempt to land at Noumea's La Tontouta airport twice.

The aircraft was diverted to Nadi airport in Fiji.

The category one cyclone is now moving to New Zealand.

New Caledonia records high road toll in 2022

A total of 70 people died on New Caledonian roads in 2022.

According to the Infrastructure, Topography and Terrestrial Transport department, the local transport authority, this number hasn't been seen since 2005.

Most victims were aged between 18 to 35 years, but six were young children, and two were under the age of two.

In order to counter the road death toll, the government of New Caledonia has announced it will purchase a speed radar and also start a campaign to educate drivers for this year.

The transport authority said 72-point-9 percent of the deadly crashes were due to alcohol.

Vanuatu's Kilman orders probe in an investment fund.

Vanuatu's Acting Prime Minister Sato Kilman has ordered a police investigation into Vanuatu People's Investment and Equity Fund.

The Fund, which was launched in 2014, immediately attracted 30,000 members who paid 4,000 Vatu membership fees - just over $US30 to join the Fund.

The owner, whom police have not named, was understood to set up a string of investments, including a cooperative for members in Port Vila, which was reported to have flopped.

Two officers in custody in French Polynesia following shooting of a man

Two police officers in French Polynesia continue to be held for questioning after fatally shooting a 30-year-old man last week.

Initial reports say the officers were called because of a suspected burglary in Taravao when they were confronted by the man wielding a machete.

The public prosecutor said after one of the officers failed to subdue him with a taser, they used their firearms and shot him.

An autopsy has been ordered and two investigations have been opened.

One probe is into attempted intentional homicide on a person holding public authority, and the other into intentional violence resulting in death without the intention to kill.

The prosecutor said the shooting victim was known to police.

Samoa's sex offenders register increases

The number of names on Samoa's sex offenders register is increasing.

The Samoa Observer reports Deputy Police Commissioner Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti saying the names on the list were increasing as more sex offenders were being convicted.

She said there are cases whose names are removed, but they then re-offend and are added back in.

The Samoa Sex Offenders Register, maintained by the Ministry of Police, is not a public document like it is in other countries.

According to Papalii, the confidentiality clause in the law allows for the rehabilitation of offenders and prevents social stigma and victimisation.

Call for Vanuatu politicians and public to respect medical staff

Vanuatu's Minister of Health has called on both politicians and members of the public to respect all medical staff of all hospitals and health centres throughout the country.

The Daily Post Newspaper says health minister Rick Tchmako Mahe intervened following concerns that a frustrated politician used abusive language and threatened the staff of Vila Central Hospital, after arriving with a very sick relative.

The staff of on duty allegedly ignored him and the patient while treating another patient.

However, the Health Minister's intervention prompted the unnamed politician to apologise to the staff.

Minister Mahe reminds all patients and relatives to show respect for the medical staff of all institutions.

Fiji rugby CEO resigns

John O'Connor has resigned from his role as Fiji Rugby Chief Executive.

Mr O'Connor has been CEO of Fiji Rugby for six years.

Tevita Tuiloa has been appointed as interim chief executive.

Fiji Rugby Chairman, Commodore Humphrey Tawake, said that team preparation for upcoming competitions will all go ahead as planned.

PNG has a chance to qualify for Cricket World Cup

Papua New Guinea remains a chance to qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

PNG will take part in a play-off, where they will have to finish in the top two to make it to the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

That tournament will then decide the final two teams to qualify for the World Cup, to be played in India later this year.

CNMI games official says bad cheques will be paid

The chairman of the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games Organizing Committee says vendors and volunteers who were issued bad cheques will ultimately be paid.

This comes after several social media posts alluded to getting cheques that bounced.

The volunteers were not promised monetary compensation in the first place.

Chairman Marco Peter said the issue on the bounced cheques - which he said were for volunteer reimbursements - was unfortunate and stemmed from a former committee staff member cashing a fraudulent cheque reimbursement.

He said there was a time when the Mini Games account was compromised, and they had to hold outstanding cheques.