4 Mar 2024

Pacific news in brief for March 4

5:10 pm on 4 March 2024
Prime Minister Feleti Teo, centre, has outlined his government's priorities.

Prime Minister Feleti Teo, centre, has outlined his government's priorities. Photo: Facebook / Tuvalu.TV


Tuvalu's newly elected prime minister Feleti Teo says he will look to review the country's development and cooperation agreement with Australia.

The Falepili Treaty signed last year by former Tuvalu PM Kausea Natano and Australia's Anthony Albanese provides a pathway to Australian residency for Tuvaluans.

It also contains some controversial clauses around Tuvalu's security and sovereignty.

Speaking to ABC's Pacific Beat, Teo said he intends to revisit the language in the security component of the agreement.

Teo, who was part of an eminent person's group involved in early negotiations around the treaty, said even they were surprised to see its final version.

Ro Jone Kalouniwai

Ro Jone Kalouniwai Photo: Facebook.com/Republic of Fiji Military Forces

Fiji - military

Fiji Army commander Major General Jone Kalouniwai says the Republic of Fiji Military Forces needs to redeem itself as an institution.

In an address at an army church service, Kalouniwai said the military had to acknowledge past wrongdoings and seek reconciliation with those who had been affected by its actions.

He cited the coups and political upheavals in Fiji's recent history, all involving the Fijian military.

Kalouniwai urged soldiers to reach out and reconcile with those who had been wronged.

No caption

Photo: 123RF

Samoa - investigation

The Samoa National Provident Fund chairman will be suspended while an investigation is done into his conduct.

Concerns were raised in a letter to the Minister of Finance, from the Fund management, about the chairman's alleged abuse of authority, coupled with the recent revelation of investment loans of $67 million tālā.

The Samoa Observer reported the minister saying the suspension is part of the process of an investigation to ensure there is no interference.

The chairman was given seven days to respond to allegations raised in the letter, which ran out last week.

Northern Mariana Islands - casino

The Saipan casino operators says a Japanese bank wants to invest US$300 million into its casino operation.

The Hong Kong-based company said its parent company, Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited, and Kyosei Bank Group entered into a memorandum of understanding in July last year.

The money is expected to go towards the troubled casino and resort project.

Imperial Pacific International disclosed this as the Commonwealth Casino Commission began revocation hearings last week against Imperial Pacific's exclusive casino license.

Cook Islands - electric car

A Cook Islands MP says nobody is interested in buying the NZ$1.7 million fleet of electric vehicles, purchased by the government for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' meeting last year.

In the opening Parliament session for the year, the new Deputy Prime Minister Albert Nicholas asked Democratic Party leader, Tina Browne, why she has one of the 25 cars purchased by the government.

Browne fired back saying none of the vehicles, which were put up for sale, have been sold.

Browne said the electric vehicle was allocated to their office by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management because the Party's car needed replacing.

The car was used once before running out of battery and could not be charged because the charging stations were out of order.

Samoa - beauty

Samoa Tourism says Upolu Island has been named as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, in an article by Showbiz Daily.

It highlights the lush green environment surrounding one of the largest waterfalls on the island.

Upolu Island is the place where Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, was buried.

Tonga - director

Elsie Fukofuka is the new Regional Director Polynesia at the Pacific Community's (SPC) regional office in Nuku'alofa.

Fukofuka is a former career civil servant with the Tongan government.

She played a crucial role in establishing SPC's Polynesia regional office in Nuku'alofa, SPC said in a statement.

She has her master's degree in Public Policy from the University of Oxford, and was a civil servant for 19 years.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Tonga has established a diplomatic relationship with the Republic of Nicaragua.

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