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Tonga’s fishing sector boosted, Solomon police station rebuilt and anti-vax pastor expelled

Japan’s Commitment to Tonga’s Fisheries Sector

The Japanese government is pledging $1.5 million to provide equipment, including fishing boats, to help Tonga’s fishing industry recover from the tsunami.

Japanese Ambassador Kensaku Munenaga and Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni signed a contract last week.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai Disaster Recovery and Resilience Building Plan 2022-2025, announced by the prime minister on March 8, said the fishing industry suffered extensive damage from the tsunami.

Tūtūkākā marina after the Sunday morning tsunami in Tonga.
Photo: Tania Whyte/ Defender of the North

Sovaleni said many fishing boats were destroyed and lost in January’s volcanic eruption and tsunami, along with related equipment and facilities, which cost millions.

The Prime Minister expressed Tonga’s gratitude for Japan’s assistance.

He says fish and fisheries are crucial to Tonga for food, transport, economic development and culture.

In March, 30 fishing boats, eight tractors and basic food items were donated to Tonga by prominent New Zealand businessman Graeme Hart.

Hart has procured ships that have already been built for immediate dispatch to communities badly affected by the volcanic eruption and tsunami, while more are being built in Fiji.

In Japan, about 30 fishing vessels were damaged by high tides from the underwater volcanic eruption.

Australia helps rebuild crumbling Solomons Police Station

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is supporting the reconstruction of Kukum Police Station in the Solomon Islands, which was ransacked and burned during riots last November.

It is undertaken as part of AFP’s partnership program with the Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIPF).

AFP said in a statement that the site, which is currently covered with earth and fire ashes, will soon be cleared to allow the start of construction work.

The building will not only provide a new and better working environment for RSIPF officers, but will also benefit communities in Honiara that need RSIPF services.

The new design was influenced by the specific operational requirements requested by the RSIPF, including multi-purpose operations and the briefing room to service upcoming 2023 Pacific Games operations.

Pastor expelled for anti-vaccination comments

A pastor from Evergreen Church in Fiji has been expelled from Vanuatu for allegedly breaking Covid-19 protocols.

The daily post said Pastor Joni Isireli was arrested on the island of Tanna in accordance with a deportation order signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ishmael Kalsakau.

The newspaper said Pastor Isireli told members of his congregation not to get vaccinated against the virus, which violates the advice of the Covid-19 task force.

However, the Evergreen Church of Tanna congregation has taken to social media to challenge the government to be fair to all other local organizations meeting in a similar environment.

Students return to school in Tonga

All primary and early childhood school students in Tongatapu, Vava’u and Ha’apai in Tonga will return to school on Monday.

Students at all other levels are already back in their classrooms.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni said the government acted because in recent weeks it had seen encouraging results in the fight against Covid-19.

The midnight to 5 a.m. curfew will remain in place.

Vaccination rates are 98% for the first dose, 91% for the second dose and 58% for the boosters.

Vaccination rates for children aged 5-11 years are 46%.

The government has also confirmed that all passengers repatriated from New Zealand, Australia and Fiji will spend five days in controlled isolation.

In four weeks, the quarantine period will be reduced to three days.

Incineration of cannabis plants

The French Polynesian authorities have incinerated more than 1000 cannabis plants which have been found throughout the territory.

Local authorities found the factories through three different operations in three different locations last month and are continuing to search for suspects.

The plants were burned while a conference on the legalization of cannabis was held in Faa’a.


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