AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS

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Friday, September 17, 1999
Samoa News

AMERICAN SAMOA FONO BUDGET HEARINGS DRAWING TO A CLOSE

PAGO PAGO (September 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Fono’s hearings for the fiscal year 2000 budget should conclude today or Monday. The last agency to be reviewed will be the Fono itself.

Next week, the House and Senate will deliberate on the budget in anticipation of the final day of the Fono session, scheduled for Tuesday, September 29.

A persistent irritant at the hearing has been the high number of contract workers.

 

VAITOGI VILLAGE RECALLS ITS HISTORY

PAGO PAGO (September 17, 1999 – Samoa News)--The village of Vaitogi recently observed its annual "traditional Sa," in remembrance of the fire that engulfed the village years ago.

Wednesday evening to Thursday evening, ropes and a makeshift stand blocked off the road to the village while members of the village stood guard to make sure no one entered or left.

A memo from Attorney General Toetagata Albert to Commissioner of Public Safety Te‘o J. Fuavai asked for the DPS’s assistance in observing the village regulation that prohibits anyone from entering or leaving the village during the day-long period of remembrance.

 

PAGO PARK TENNIS COURTS TO BE RENOVATED

PAGO PAGO (September 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---Bay area and eastern district sports enthusiasts have something to look forward to in the coming year.

Two of the four long abandoned tennis courts in Pago Pago will be refurbished, while the other two will be developed as netball and volleyball courts. And, the baseball diamond in Onesosopo will finally get the night lights that were "loaned" to the Veteran’s Memorial Stadium during the frantic last-minute preparations for the South Pacific Mini-Games two years ago.

Federal Community Development Block Grants will be used to fund these projects, as well as a host of others, according to Department of Commerce Director Aliimau JR Scanlan.

 

THREE-LANE ROAD IN FRONT OF PORT APPROVED

PAGO PAGO (September 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Route One Corridor Project is being extended further towards the town area.

The major road project was originally designed to end near the entrance to the Governor’s House, but government officials have decided to authorize McConnell Dowell to continue the project to the area where the Fire Station is located.

There will be three lanes along that stretch, between the port on one side and the Samoa News, Methodist Bookstore and Samoa Sports buildings on the other side.

An existing row of royal palm trees that now line the port side of the road will not be cut down, according to Director of Commerce Aliimau JR Scanlan. Instead they will be part of a median strip dividing the two lanes headed out to the west side of the island from the single lane headed into the heart of the bay area.

MCDONALD’S STILL COMING, BUT NOT RIGHT AWAY

PAGO PAGO (September 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---Big Mac addicts will have to wait a few more months according to TRT Corporation official Agaoleatu Charlie Tautolo.

"Yes, there will be a delay in the opening of our McDonald’s here," Tautolo said. "We’re hoping to target late December this year or early January next year."

Tautolo explained that the opening of the franchise has been delayed pending approval from headquarters in Australia.

"Our building plans were originally done in metric units and we had to convert it to feet and inches," explained Tautolo.

 

TAUSILI NAMED NEW CEO OF GOODWILL INDUSTRIES

PAGO PAGO (September 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---Goodwill Industries in American Samoa has selected a new Chief Executive Officer, Vasaoalofi Selesese Tausili.

Tausili, a Vietnam veteran and Army retiree, recently received a BA degree in Human Resources Development at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu.

At Goodwill, he will assist disabled clients by providing training, jobs and other rehabilitation services.

Four other candidates applied for the post, which has been vacant for over a year since the departure of Fofo Tony Tuitele.

The non-profit organization plans to reopen its Manu‘a operation, which has been closed since the hurricanes of the early 1990s.

 

SILA HUDSON ASKED TO COORDINATE MISS SOUTH PACIFIC

PAGO PAGO (September 17, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Miss South Pacific Pageant will be held in American Samoa next year, and the government is recruiting Sila Hudson, a former Miss American Samoa, Inc. (MASI) president, to coordinate American Samoa’s hosting of the event.

The coordinator will be assisted by the Tourism Division of the Commerce Department and Dawn Alailima, assistant to Department of Commerce Director Aliimau H. Scanlan.

Scanlan said yesterday that he would like to compensate Hudson for her service, but he has not yet talked to her about a salary.

 

American Samoa News

Thursday, September 16, 1999

Samoa News

SUIT ALLEGES POLICE BRUTALITY AND STORM TROOPER TACTICS

PAGO PAGO (September 16, 1999 – Samoa News)--A police officer, the Commissioner of Public Safety and the American Samoa Government have been sued for police brutality by a man arrested last December and convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Peter (aka Tony) Meredith is asking for $60,000 in compensatory damages for personal injury and emotional distress resulting from the alleged beating by Public Safety Officer Keneti Lagai, who had pulled him over and later arrested him for DUI.

Meredith is also seeking $1,200 to cover repairs to his vehicle that was allegedly damaged while in the custody of the Department of Public Safety during his arrest and confinement.

 

COAST GUARD COMPLAINTS WITH PORT RESOLVED

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO (September 16, 1999 – Samoa News)--The Port of Pago Pago has avoided Coast Guard sanctions by correcting various deficiencies before a September 15th deadline.

On August 15, the Port was given 30 days to correct 11 problems or face possible closure.

The USCG credits the new Port Director, Abe Malae, for resolving the problems since he came on board two weeks ago.

"Abe Malae has used key people to make dramatic changes overnight," said Petty Officer Kevin Biami. "A lot of work has put into complying with the federal regulations. The Port is 110% better."

Among the problems identified by the USCG were no operational safety sirens or lights, insufficient fire clearance around the Port facility, containers blocking the way; excessive trash; oily materials inside containers; empty or unserviceable fire extinguishers; lighting that did not meet electric code requirements; blockage of pathways to fire extinguishers; people smoking in non-smoking areas (the entire waterfront facility is non-smoking), and improper storage of hazardous materials.

The port has once again been cleared to handle explosives.

Petty Officer Biami also praised a recommendation from Faumuina Tagisia, General Manager for Peter Reid Stevedoring, to post signs in the Samoan language.

Malae told Samoa News that a lot of the credit goes to the local stevedoring companies, Peter Reid Stevedoring and Harbor Maritime.

"I would like to thank them for their quick response," Malae said. He also cited "very skillful people" who helped, including Port personnel, John Utu of ASPA and others.

 

SPEAKER ISSUES ORDER: DON’T PAY VELEGA SAVALI

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO (September 16, 1999 – Samoa News)---Senate President Lutu T. Fuimaono’s controversial decision to compensate Legislative Financial Officer Velega Savali "has no legal basis," according to House Speaker Aina Sao Nua.

The speaker told Samoa News that Velega remains terminated. His remarks up the ante in the growing rift between the two House leaders.

The speaker’s adamant stand against Velega’s re-employment and compensation was outlined in a letter to Treasurer Tifimalae Ale.

The letter was reportedly delivered to the Treasurer on Tuesday, the day after Senate President Lutu Tenari Fuimaono left for an off-island meeting.

Last week, Lutu announced in the Senate chambers that Velega will be re-employed and retroactively compensated while an audit of the Jubilee spending is conducted.

"Such decision to compensate Velega Savali has no legal basis, as an earlier decision, which was approved by myself and the Senate President Pro Tempore (Senator Tuilefano Vaelaa) to terminate his (Velega) services as the Head of the Legislative Financial Officer, still stands," the Speaker wrote.

"To reverse Velega S. Savali’s termination status, both the President of the Senate and myself must concur," the Speaker noted. "Accordingly, please be advised not to release any payment/compensation to Velega S. Savali without proper authorization from my office."

Copies of the letter were sent to the Director of Human Resources, ASG’s Payroll Division, and the Fono’s Financial Office.

RELATEDLY...

During Monday’s House session, Rep. Fonoti Savali Vaeao informed the Speaker of his disappointment over the newspaper’s report that the House supported the termination of Velega.

Rep. Fonoti, a relative of Velega, reminded the Speaker that the full House membership has never voted on Velega’s termination.

Speaker Aina replied that "the membership never heard me make such a statement (as the story reported)"and he suggested that his Manu‘a colleague contact the newspaper directly.

The speaker is correct in that the Samoa News reported on comments made in the Senate during one of its recurring debates over the fate of Velega.

As regards the underlying issue of Fono Golden Jubilee spending, House Investigative Committee Chairman Malaetasi Mauga Togafau told the Samoa News that the committee expects the report to be released in the next week or two.

 

WEATHER SPOTTERS SOUGHT BY TAFUNA WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE

PAGO PAGO (September 16, 1999 – Samoa News)--To increase the amount of information flowing into the American Samoa Weather Service Office (WSO), local volunteers are being recruited as "weather spotters."

The reports of these citizen volunteers will help the Weather Service issue warnings and advisories to the general public.

A series of workshops are being hosted by the WSO to orient weather spotters. The first workshop was held at the Tafuna Public Safety Substation Conference room Tuesday afternoon.

Trainer Carol Ma‘afala-Lopez and WSO Meteorologist Liufau Tanielu Sonoma introduced the program to an interested group composed mainly of TEMCO, Red Cross, Airport, and Public Works employees.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Samoa News

TAFUNA PRISON WILL SOON HAVE A DRUG TREATMENT CENTER

PAGO PAGO (September 15, 1999 – Samoa News)---A Residential Substance Abuse (drug) Treatment center will be opening in the Territory in the next few days.

Located alongside the prison’s administration building, the center will include five rooms, with three beds in each room.

The center is being funded with $180,000 in federal funding from the Criminal Justice Planning Agency and will be operated by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, who will be working closely with the hospital.

 

ROTARY CLUB ‘ADOPTS’ BARSTOW LIBRARY, DONATES FUNDS

PAGO PAGO (September 15, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Pago Pago Rotary Club "is looking forward to an active year" and has, among other things, "adopted" the Feleti Barstow Library as a major long-term project, Club President Mike Dworsky announced last Saturday evening.

The announcement was made during a dinner-banquet at Sadie’s honoring the Club’s visiting New Zealand-based District Governor Mark Tregidga and his wife Margaret.

According to Dworsky, the Club is concerned about the future of the Library and its lack of funding for books and basic operations. Late last year, the local Rotarians donated $5,000 to keep the library operating.

 

FAIPULE CONCERNED ABOUT FAGATOGO SITE OF VETERANS MEMORIAL

PAGO PAGO (September 15, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Fono wants the governor to allow a local non-profit group to construct a memorial for American Samoa War Veterans across the street from the High Court building.

The land sought by the group measures 100 feet by 100 feet.

Three bay area lawmakers objected to the non-binding Resolution, with Fagatogo faipule Matagi Ray McMoore leading the opposition.

Rep. McMoore reminded his colleagues that his village has very limited land for use by his constituents. The lawmaker said the village has a pending proposal to the government to use this same piece of land for a playground to serve the youths of Fagatogo. He said there has been no official response yet.

Despite their objection and support from other members, the final vote was 9-6 in favor of the Senate Concurrent Resolution.

 

NEW DEATH BENEFIT FOR RETIREES’ FAMILIES

PAGO PAGO (September 15, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Fono has approved a law that will provide a $1,500 death benefit to the survivors of any retiree who participated in the American Samoa Government Employees Retirement Program.

The bill will go to Governor Tauese Sunia, who is expected to sign it.

The bill originated in the Senate and was unanimously passed by the House yesterday.

Retirement Fund Director George Odom told the Samoa News yesterday that the Retirement Fund could afford this extra benefit.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Samoa News

ALCOHOL TAX INCREASE READY FOR TAUESE'S SIGNATURE

PAGO PAGO (September 14, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Fono has approved higher taxes for alcohol, and Governor Tauese Sunia is sure to sign the bill, as it was an administration initiative.

The increased funds from higher taxes are earmarked to go to the operating budget of the Feleti Barstow Public Library, which has not yet opened, and the newly created Office of the Administrative Law Judge.

The Senate passed the tax increase unanimously yesterday; the House passed the measure several weeks ago.

 

CHRISTIAN PROGRAMMING TO GO "LIVE"

PAGO PAGO (September 14, 1999 – Samoa News)---A new satellite dish that will bring in live Christian programming from the mainland and neighboring Samoa was dedicated last Friday at the American Samoa Cablevision (ASC) facility in Tafuna.

ASC already carries Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Graceland Broadcasting Network (GBN) on channel 23, but the material is several weeks old by the time it airs because it is taped on the mainland and Samoa before being shipped here for airing.

The new satellite dish will enable Channel 23 viewers to see shows when they are first broadcast instead of on a tape-delayed basis.

 

FAKE VOTER ID TESTIMONY GIVEN IN COURT

PAGO PAGO (September 14, 1999 – Samoa News)---Seven of the nine defendants in the voter identification cards conspiracy/forgery case are expected to plead "not guilty" this morning during their arraignments in the High Court.

After a two-hour preliminary examination hearing in District Court yesterday afternoon, District Court Judge John L. Ward II found probable cause to bind the six cricket players over to the High Court on a single count each of forgery and conspiracy.

According to Judge Ward, the forgery charge relates directly to the six players’ signing of the voter identification cards with false names. However, he dismissed a second count of forgery against each of the players.

 

LETTER OF IDENTIFICATION CONFISCATED BY IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS

PAGO PAGO (September 14, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Attorney General’s Office is investigating a possible new fake Letter of Identification case.

Immigration personnel at Pago Pago International Airport confiscated the questionable letter Friday night. The man carrying the Letter came in on a Hawaiian Airlines’ flight from Honolulu.

Attorney General Toetagata Albert Mailo could not be reached for comments, but an eyewitness told Samoa News about the incident.

 

LUTU VS. TUILEFANO CLASH OVER VELEGA

PAGO PAGO (September 14, 1999 – Samoa News)---The conflict between Senate President Lutu T. Fuimaono and Senate President Pro Temp Tuilefano Vaelaa is deepening.

The two exchanged letters this week and everyone in the Senate received copies.

Lutu made it clear that the termination of Legislative Financial Officer Velega Savali "does not stand." Velega was dismissed from his $45,000 per year job by Speaker of the House Aina Nua and Senator Tuilefano, who was at that time presiding as Senate President while Lutu was off-island.

The LFO is hired and fired by the Speaker and the President.

 

MALUIA FILOITUMUA PICKED FOR IMMIGRATION BOARD

PAGO PAGO (September 14, 1999 – Samoa News)---Maluia P.T. Filoitumua, a former Director of the Department of Agriculture in the last Lutali administration, was nominated last week by Governor Tauese Sunia to serve on the Immigration Board.

Tauese took the action in a General Memorandum issued Friday before departing for Denmark.

The Governor’s appointment should be transmitted to the Fono for approval before the close of the 2nd Session of the 26th Legislature.

If endorsed by both chambers, Maluia will replace the expired term of Senator Tuilefano M. Vaelaa, who remains on the board until the Fono confirms a new member.

Although the House confirmed the Governor’s nomination of Leasau Eseroma, the Senate thrice rejected the appointment.

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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