China-funded projects to commence with arrival of workers

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 02 May 2021, 10:00PM

Three new projects led by and supported by the caretaker Government – the Apia Port Safety project, the new Chinese Embassy premises and the Police Academy – will now commence following the arrival of technical expertise. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement issued Sunday night that a charter flight from the People's Republic of China landed in Samoa last Thursday.

According to the Ministry's statement a total of 198 passengers arrived on the charter flight which was organised by the China Harbour Engineering Company in collaboration with the Embassy of China in Apia.

The purpose of the flight was to transport workers for the Apia Port Safety project that is funded by the Manila-based Asian Development Bank.

“On Thursday 29 April, the charter flight arranged by the China Harbour Engineering Company, in collaboration with the Embassy of China, to bring its workers for the A.D.B. funded Apia Port Safety project,” the M.A.F. statement reads.

"It also provided the opportunity for technical experts for a number of other development projects for Samoa,” added M.A.F.

Fifty-six of those passengers are in Samoa to construct the new Chinese Embassy premises and 49 are returning private sector businessmen, the statement explains.

Thirty-four of the arriving passengers are in Samoa for the Apia Port Safety project headed by the Samoa Ports Authority and 16 are in the country to build the Arts and Culture Centre at Malifa, which comes under the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture.

A total of 12 who arrived will be working with the M.A.F. on the China-Samoa Agricultural Technical Aid Project.

While eight of them comprised the rotational medical team who will work with the Ministry of Health as well as an additional eight who make up the forensic pathologists team.

The forensic pathologists will work with the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, the Ministry of Police Prisons and Correction Services and the Attorney General’s Office. 

Six of the new arrivals will work on the construction of the new Police Academy in conjunction with the Ministry of Police while five are here to work with the Samoa Sports Facilities Authority on the sports centre.

Two engineers will be seconded to the the Electric Power Corporation and one arriving passenger is a staff member of the Chinese Embassy together with the other being the interim head of the World Health Organisation office in Samoa.

“New projects that will now begin with the arrival of project staff include the Apia Port Safety project funded by the Asian Development Bank, the new Chinese embassy and the police academy,” stated the M.A.F. statement.

“The forensic pathologist team will assist the courts and Ministry of Police in expediting the conclusion of outstanding cases requiring forensic analyses and subsequent release of bodies for burial.”

It is not known if the 198 passengers will be subject to either the seven or 14-day quarantine, though depending on whether they have already been vaccinated, except for the pathologists who have been exempted. 

Questions were sent by the Samoa Observer to the Chinese Embassy on Sunday seeking clarification on the vaccination status and quarantine arrangements for the passengers. But there was no response from the Embassy at the time of going to press. 

Initially, the Government of Samoa said there would be 165 passengers arriving on the charter flight from China. However, the M.A.F. in its statement on Sunday evening said a total of 198 came in on the charter flight. 

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 02 May 2021, 10:00PM
Samoa Observer

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