Pacific news in brief for June 18

Tonga- health

Tonga’s government has allocated close to 80 million pa’anga – more than US$33m – towards improving the health sector.

Minister of Finance Tiofilusi Tiueti announced a series of initiatives during his budget speech in Parliament.

Included is having a multi-sectoral response to the non-communicable disases crisis, a new hospital for Vava’u, increasing the number of nurses enrolled and continuing the school breakfast programme.

The government said one of its priorities is to improve access to quality healthcare.

Fiji – drugs

Fiji’s prime minister says the country’s drug problem threatens the nation’s health, wellbeing and future.

The Fiji Times reports Sitiveni Rabuka saying the drug crisis extended beyond personal addiction to impact families, communities and ultimately, the entire nation.

Rabuka said Cabinet had endorsed the National Counter Narcotics Strategy 2023-2028.

He said it had also approved the establishment of the Fiji Counter Narcotics Bureau, an independent institution under the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.

Solomon Islands – governor-general

Reverend David Tiva Kapu has been appointed as the new governor general of Solomon Islands.

Local media reported Reverend Tiva was the only candidate put forward for nomination in the national parliament on Monday.

He is the academic dean of studies at the Bishop Patteson theological college at Kohimarama, named after a significant indigenous site in Aotearoa, on Guadalcanal.

Reverend Tiva, who hails from the Central Province, replaces Sir David Vunagi, himself a former bishop of the Anglican Church, who has served in the role since July 2019.

King’s representative’s in Solomon Islands are appointed for a five-year term.

Samoa – dam

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$111m multipurpose dam project for Samoa’s capital.

The Ireland Trust Fund for Building Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Small Island Developing States will contribute US$400,000 and the Government of Samoa will provide more than US$11m.

The project will support the construction of a multipurpose dam aiming to reduce flood risks in Apia and provide a reliable and sustainable source of water supply, and provide support on flood risk management systems, capacity building, and biodiversity conservation and management.

The ADB said a run-of-river small hydropower plant will also help to reduce Samoa’s dependency on imported fossil fuels for power.

Northern Marianas – military relocation

A US Marine Corps official says the transfer of troops from Japan’s Okinawa to Guam will start in December.

Kyodo News reported this is another development in a long-agreed Japan-US forces realignment plan.

According the Congressional Research Service and other sources, the plan to move 4000 of the approximately 19,000 Marines currently in Okinawa, agreed upon in 2012, is set to be completed by around 2028

In Guam, construction works have started for Camp Blaz, the relocation site for the Marines from Okinawa.

New Zealand – Pasifika

Professor Tafaoimalo Tologata Leilani Tuala-Warren has become New Zealand’s first Dean of Law of Pacific descent.

She was appointed Dean of Te Piringa Faculty of Law at the University of Waikato.

Tafaoimalo has been part of the University since the 1990s after completing a Bachelor and Master of Law.

Her master’s thesis looked at ifoga, a traditional Samoan apology, and examined if this cultural practice could be integrated into the New Zealand criminal justice system.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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