Pacific News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

2018: PARKING METERS WILL BE A PERMANENT FIXTURE IN APIA TOWN AREA —

Come 2018 parking meters will be a permanent fixture in the Apia town area.

Cabinet recently has given the green light for Land Transport Authority to proceed with their long awaited plans to install parking meters starting in the Apia town area and other public places.

The reform has long been on the drawing board.

But this week in a press conference, L T A senior officials acknowledged that with the Cabinet’ s blessing they will now proceed with the preparation and installation of parking meters set to be up and running in 2018.

“Apia is a rapidly growing economy and can quickly turn into a traffic nightmare for the downtown area, if traffic is not managed properly,” says LTA’s Assistant Chief Executive Mataafa Sepilini Poufa.

“With the growing number of vehicles year in and year out, the parking meters will some- what alleviate the overcrowding of public parking spaces, minimize traffic congestions as well as traffic accidents.”

And if pieces of the puzzle fall together, the meters should be commissioned sometime in 2018.

(Source: M.P .M.C. Press Secretary)

KAHUKU WATER BOY WITH DISABILITIES “KICKED OFF” FOOTBALL FIELD

A family is upset after they say their special needs son was embarrassed during Friday night’s scrimmage at Kahuku High School. 15-year-old Jacob To’oto’o, a water boy for the Red Raiders, was told to leave the football field, according to his family.

“Basically, my son was kicked off the eld by Kahuku High School’s athletic director. How she handled the situation was just very sad and unfortunate. Jacob was extremely embarrassed running off the field,” Jacob’ s mother, Ursel To’oto’o said.

The incoming sophomore’ s mother says her son has intellectual disabilities, and when the school’s athletic director told him to leave the field during the Kahuku versus Mililani scrimmage, he didn’t understand and walked off emotionally hurt.

To’oto’o had been waiting all summer to step out on the field after showing up to every football practice, Jacob’s uncle, Mike Garcia said.

The teen’s mother said after her son was “kicked off” Kahuku’ s home field, she approached the school’ s athletic director, questioning her actions. The director indicated that he was a liability, and “they only allow three approved names to be on the field.”

To’oto’o says after the scrimmage, Kahuku’ s football coach paid them a personal visit to their home to inform Jacob that he’ s been cleared to be back on the field for the rest of the season. “The coaches made it happen for him, like they did from the beginning, and they stuck up for him and I so appreciate that,” To’oto’o said.

(Source: kitv.com)

WHAT ABOUT US?

(Apia, Samoa) — They fear the worst. As the growth of foreign-owned businesses continue at an alarming rate, small business owners, from elei makers to corner shop operators, are worried that they will soon be squeezed out completely, the Samoa Observer reported this week.

One place where these fears are openly discussed on a daily basis is Samoa’ s industrial area at Vaitele where there is a marked growth in the number of Asian-owned businesses from restaurants to retail stores.

For example, down at what used to be the Vaitele market, the progress of what appears to be a large store being built inside the market where farmers used to sell their produce is making vendors there very nervous.

The store belongs to the owner of Coin Save; one of the fastest-growing Chinese owned and operated businesses in the country. The owner, Tu’itu’itoaiga Teeking Weng, has been given permission by the government to develop the $5.7million complex.

A business owner who only wanted to be identified as “Lae” said he is worried about his future. “When this shop opens, they too will get into selling clothes and elei,” he said. “As a businessman, I’m worried about the effect of this big one (business) on my small shop here at Vaitele.”

The small business owner is aware of Coin Save’s popularity with the latest styles sold at cheap prices.

“We stand no chance with these big businesses,” Lae said. “There’ s no way we can compete with the Chinese nowa- days, and we all know that, many of our people are now on the road selling BBQ to earn a living.”

He blames the government for making it too easy for big businesses to squeeze out the little ones. “The government is babysitting these foreigners by granting them big loans, giving them buildings to house their businesses but letting our people stand in the sun and the rain to sell what we have on the side of the road.”

Frustrated, he said the government continues to push foreign businesses, such as those belonging to Asians, ignoring the needs of the locals.

 “It’ s heartbreaking,” Lae said. “Now, the problem could be even worse if this Chinese business opens here soon, and to tell you the truth I believe many of us here will be closed.

“And where will we go? What about us and our families?”

(Source: Samoa Observer)

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