Pacific news in brief for September 8

Tongan housing plan, fisherman shooting investigation and Samoa to make deals with international airlines

PM says house building for Tonga eruption victims has begun

The Tongan prime minister says 70 percent of the homes needed for victims of the January 15 volcano and tsunami event have been purchased, with construction already underway.

That includes construction work around Popua, Sopu, Masilamea, Matatoa in Tongatapu and Ta’anga in ‘Eua.

Photo: Consulate of the Kingdom of Tonga

Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni said the construction of 24 houses in Masilamea is well underway for the people of ‘Atata, and they hope to have those houses finished by the end of this month.

Construction work in Ha’apai will also begin soon, with plans to complete the homes before Christmas.

Investigation into alleged shooting of fishermen in PNG waters

Papua New Guinea Defense Force personnel are under investigation after an alleged shooting of Indonesian fishermen.

According to the Post-courierAn Indonesian boat crew was caught fishing illegally in PNG waters two weeks ago.

PNG Defense Force Commander Major Mark Goina said all information of the incident has been sent to the Office of Foreign Affairs.

Samoa closes deals with airlines

Samoa will sign two Air Services Agreements with two international airlines before the end of the year.

Samoan observer reports that this was revealed by the Minister of Civil Aviation who said he will fly to Singapore later this month to “seal the deal” with Singapore Airlines and also stand in line to negotiate a similar deal with Emirates Airlines. sign.

“These are air services agreements (ASA) with these two international airlines to serve our tourist route for the time being,” said Olo Fiti Afoa Vaai.

Olo said this does not mean they will get foreign operating certificates for these two airlines.

“The Air Services Agreement is a bilateral agreement to enable international commercial air transport services between signatories.”

Exemption for exceedances in Tonga

Tonga has approved a waiver of overage fees following requests from overseas communities in the Kingdom who have faced visa problems.

The exemption was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and applies to all overseas citizens who have stayed too long in Tonga before and during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The exemption will take effect on September 12 and will run until December 12.

Anyone applying for the exemption must register with the Tonga Immigration Department.

Alerts issued about non-payment of overtime

In American Samoa, politicians support executive employees who are not paid for overtime.

Lawmakers say failure to pay overtime is a serious and clear violation of federal labor laws and could face serious government consequences, including hefty fines.

Last week, Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga issued a memorandum telling executives’ directors and heads of agencies that it is a legal and moral duty to compensate workers for overtime.

Each director and boss of the agency must provide the governor’s office with the amount of outstanding overtime and compensatory time owed to its employees.

Lemanu added that if there are any overtime pay issues that a director cannot resolve, the governor’s office should be contacted for assistance.

Dozens of Vanuatu government vehicles seized

In Vanuatu, 50 government-registered vehicles have been confiscated by the Police Traffic Department for unworthiness of the road.

The Daily message reports that it is the first police operation of its kind, and vehicles with nets driven by ministers, directors-general, department directors and some police officers.

According to the report, the vehicles did not comply with traffic regulations.

Regulations require all government vehicles to pass a road safety check every year.

All departments involved will be fined, while the Civil Service has called on them to comply with all traffic rules from now on.

Beekeepers gather in Fiji for a sustainability course

Training on sustainable beekeeping for both Pacific beekeepers and government representatives has started in Fiji.

Taking place in the Fiji cities of Nadi and Rakiraki, the six-day intensive course offers theoretical and practical classes and knowledge-sharing sessions for 12 participants from the Cook Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The course aims to develop the capabilities of local beekeepers and government officials responsible for beekeeping activities in the Pacific. It will also provide a solid foundation for developing or updating the countries’ existing beekeeping guidelines.

During the course, participants receive both theoretical and practical training on topics such as queen breeding, honey harvesting and extraction, and bottling and marketing of honey.

The course will also explore value-added bee products.

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