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Cabinet investigates who authorized the 15 January 2023 RSE flight

By Lagi Keresoma.

APIA, SAMOA – 30 JANUARY 2023: An investigation is in progress into who authorized the RSE Flight of 15 January 2023 that ignored Cabinets decision to suspend all RSE trips until it has reviewed the Sub Committees report.

The Acting Prime Minister, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio confirmed that Cabinet today reviewed the Report that was to shape policy guidelines not only to monitor the progress of the RSE program in New Zealand and Australia, but also to ensure that all countries involved in the program get a fair deal out of it and that the Samoan workers under the program are well taken care of.

Speaking to Talamua after Cabinet today, Tuala said among the issues discussed was the RSE flight of 15 January 2023 despite Cabinet’s decision to suspend all RSE trips until Cabinet has reviewed the Committees report.

The Acting Prime Minister said it was a fruitful discussion that would shape and establish policy guidelines for all to follow.

Due to a lot of complaints and discrepancies raised by those who have worked and are still working under the RSE in New Zealand and the Labour Mobility program in Australia, the Cabinet decided to suspend all RSE trips in the month of January 2023, until they are satisfied that all issues are resolved.

Cabinet’s decision was hotly debated by the Opposition Members of Parliament in the recent Parliament sitting.

Tuala insisted in Parliament that Cabinet’s temporary decision was to suspend the program for January only while a review is undertaken in order to address the many issues and problems that had affected the Samoan workers under the program over the past year.

Despite its decision, Cabinet found out later that an RSE flight departed with Samoan workers on 15 January 2023.

“We are investigating that and we will decide on it in due course,” said Tuala.