AMERICAN SAMOA HEADLINE NEWS

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Thursday, August 26, 1999
Samoa News

AMERICAN SAMOA SENATE WANTS SENATORS ELECTED BEFORE GOVERNOR

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO--A bill that would establish exactly when counties are to select Senators and when the results of their deliberations are to be verified by the Chief Election Officer passed the Senate yesterday.

The affirmative vote was unanimous.

The 18 members of the Senate are selected every four years in accordance with Samoan customs by county councils. The selection usually takes place around the same time as the gubernatorial race.

The final language of the bill that is expected to be submitted to the House this morning states that "the election of senators shall be held on the second Friday of October, in the same year of the general election for the offices of the Governor/Lt. Governor."

The results of those elections must be communicated to the government "on or before the second Friday of December in the same year of the general elections for the Governor/Lt. Governor."

Furthermore, "The Senators elect are subject to scrutiny and ultimate sanction by the Senate."

Additionally, "The failure of a county or counties to elect a senator or senators and of a county chief or county chiefs to certify the decision of the county councils, shall result in the automatic election of the incumbent senator from the respective counties to serve another term of four years."

MAGALEI, SALA, PULEFAASINA NOMINATED TO JUDGESHIPS

PAGO PAGO--Three ranking chiefs have been nominated to serve in an expanded pool of Temporary Associate Judges.

The temporary panel now consists of two retired judges, Tauanuu Faisiota and Mailo Atonio, but Chief Justice Michael Kruse and Governor Tauese Sunia want the panel expanded to include HC Magalei Logovii, Dr. Uelese Sala, and HC Pulefaasisina P. Tuiasosopo.

Instead of appointing a replacement for the recently retired Chief Associate Judge Tauanuu Faisiota, Chief Justice F. Michael Kruse recommends the appointment of three additional temporary associate judges who can be called to serve on a case-by-case basis.

Kruse wants to expand the pool of judges to avoid conflicts of interest on the bench, especially when Matai title cases are heard.

The three men he recommended to Governor Tauese Sunia all met with the Governor’s approval and they will now face Senate confirmation.

VELEGA SAVALI’S EMPLOYMENT STATUS STILL UNDER DEBATE

PAGO PAGO--The Senate spent the better part of an hour rehashing the arguments for and against termination of Velega Savali, the former Legislative Financial Officer who was fired last month.

Although no vote was taken, the upshot of the discussion was that it is now up to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House to decide whether to bring Velega back.

The Speaker has long wanted Velega fired, and told Samoa News yesterday evening that "this issue has already been settled."

But the Senate does not necessarily feel that way and Senate President Lutu Tenari Fuimaono has long opposed the termination of Velega.

PAROLEE HAD REPORTEDLY KILLED ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER

PAGO PAGO--Suafala Williams, who allegedly tried to pull a gun on a cop in Atu’u this past weekend, was reportedly out on parole from an earlier conviction for the killing of a police officer.

According to Assistant Attorney John Cassel, Williams killed a police officer during a fight in Pago either in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. Cassell added that he has already requested more information from the parole board regarding the previous case.

No further information was available yesterday as the territory’s head parole official, Isa Lei Iuli, is off-island.

Williams has been in custody at the Tafuna Correctional Facility since the incident early Saturday morning. No bail has been set. He will appear in the High Court this morning to answer charges, including first degree assault, which carries with it a minimum jail term of 10 years.

Williams is also charged with possession of illegal drugs (methamphetamine and marijuana) and the discharge of a firearm.

HOUSE TRYING AGAIN TO DETERMINE ASG FINANCIAL STATUS

PAGO PAGO--The never-ending effort to learn the status of ASG’s finances will continue in the House today.

"The Ways and Means Committee wants to find out where the Government stands on its off-island debts, local debts and collection of revenues," Chairman Su’a Carl Schuster said yesterday. "We also want to find out if there is a problem in paying or collection and what solutions the Fono can recommend."

Various agencies of the Government have been invited to testify, as well as several government authorities.

The committee is requesting a complete report of outstanding debts and is especially interested in learning how the Government paid its debts to Straub Medical Center in Honolulu.

The Committee also wants to hear about ASG efforts to collect monies due from land leases.

HUSBAND FACES PRISON TERM FOR BEATING WIFE

PAGO PAGO--Justice is sometimes swift. A husband who beat his wife Wednesday last week was arrested for the crime Friday and pled guilty to assault in the third degree on Monday. He will be sentenced this coming Wednesday, September 1st.

Pita Tanielu spent the weekend in the Tafuna prison before being released on his own recognizance Monday. He faces a maximum prison term of one year.

The victim, Tanielu’s wife, reported that the "defendant threw a plate at her in the presence of their two young children."

She was then kicked, punched and slapped repeatedly. The police observed that her "entire face was swollen and red and the right eye was swollen shut."

Tanielu told a police officer afterwards that "the victim was arguing with him so he threw a plate at her." The defendant added that the victim threw a cup at him, "so he beat her up."

MISS AMERICAN SAMOA PAGEANT TO BE HELD SEPTEMBER 11

PAGO PAGO--The last Miss American Samoa Pageant to be held this century will be an enchanting evening of non-stop entertainment and enchantment.

That is the promise of Miss American Samoa, Inc. (MASI) with regard to the September 11 extravaganza to be held at Pago Bay Restaurant.

This year’s pageant will feature the contestants, of course, live entertainment and heavy island-style pupus, for only $20 per person.

Anyone interested in being a contestant has until Friday, August 27th to come forward.

Miss American Samoa 1999-2000 will represent American Samoa at the 1999 Miss South Pacific Pageant, which will be held in October in the Kingdom of Tonga.

The Miss South Pacific Pageant is a yearly competition with over 13 island countries participating. Miss American Samoa has held the MSP title on three separate occasion, including the first Miss South Pacific title, which was won by Juliet Spencer Sword. In 1993, Leilua Stevenson Fuimaono won the crown. And in 1996, Miss Rowena Tuitele received the crown after it was relinquished by Miss Kingdom of Tonga.

Next year’s Millennium Miss South Pacific Pageant will be held in American Samoa. A host committee will be announced very soon.

American Samoa is represented on the Miss South Pacific Board by Tourism Division Manager Virginia Samuelu.

The successful bid to host the Millennium pageant was presented earlier this year by Dr. Sili Sataua, who was then Chief of Staff to Governor Tauese P. Sunia and is now Director of Education.

MASI is working closely with the Department of Commerce’s Tourism Division to promote the national pageant in light of our role as host of the Miss South Pacific Pageant next year.

According to MASI, "The Miss American Samoa Pageant is a promotion of women in development and offers unique opportunities for women to represent American Samoa here and aboard."

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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