AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNOR TAUESE USES TELEVISION TO DISCUSS BUDGET

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AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS Wednesday, October 6, 1999 Samoa News

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 6, 1999 – Samoa News)---"There are many, many ramifications of a piecemeal budget that we cannot deal with," declared Governor Tauese Sunia in a televised speech regarding the $45.8 million budget for the first three months of FY 2000 that was signed last Thursday.

Additionally, "I have been advised that what I have done (Thursday) is probably illegal, unconstitutional, in that the constitution requires that all money bills, including the budget, must identify a source of revenue (and the bill he signed does not, he claims).

"After looking at all the factors and the different aspects of the issue, I had come to realize that, despite the difference in interpretation of the law, the people will suffer if the government is closed down," Tauese said in a calm voice.

 

NEW ROUND OF BUDGET REVIEWS TO START NEXT WEEK

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 6, 1999 – Samoa News)--- Directors from three government agencies are being recalled by the Joint Budget Committee of the Fono to provide further explanations into the final budget for fiscal year 2000.

The hearings will be held next week.

Schedule to appear in the upcoming round of budget reviews is the Treasurer, the Budget Director, and the Director of the Department of Human Resources.

Also asked to appear is a representative from the American Samoa Disaster Relief Office (ASDRO) and the American Samoa Petroleum Cooperative.

The Committee also wants a report on the revenue collected by the Veterans Memorial Stadium, as well as a fee schedule.

 

SENATOR TUANAITAU TUIA RECOVERING FROM SURGERY

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 6, 1999 – Samoa News)---Senator Tuanaitau F. Tuia is recovering at Straub Medical Clinic in Honolulu following surgery last Friday to remove a tumor discovered on the side of his face.

The Tualauta Senator left two weeks ago for a medical check when the tumor was discovered and has stayed on in Hawaii since then. His daughter, Dr. Claire Poumele, returned Monday from Honolulu following the surgery. She told Samoa News, "My father is doing well."

Dr. Poumele said the family will know today when chemotherapy will start. Senator Tuia, 78, will be in Honolulu for a while, says Dr. Poumele. Senator Tuia’s wife Betty has been at his bedside, along with some of his children and grandchildren.

Early this year, the Senator underwent three separate skin cancer surgeries, also at Straub.

Senator Tuanaitau has been a member of the Fono for more than two decades and served for many years as Speaker of the House before moving to the Senate to represent the Tualauta District.

With 38 years in the Fono, he has served longer than any other legislator in the Fono’s 50-year history.

 

‘MA’I AITU’ OR MENTAL ILLNESS — SAME DIFFERENCE?

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 6, 1999 – Samoa News)---"Is it "ma’i aitu (ghost sickness)" or is it mental illness?

Or are they one and the same diagnosis?

Psychiatrically, the answer is ‘no, they are not’. Culturally, the answer is more often than not, ‘yes’.

"Samoan cultural beliefs are still strong even to this day and what we would call mental illness, many Samoans, and probably many other islanders, would call ‘ma’i aitu’ or ‘ma’i Samoa’," admits Dr. Malaefou Elisaia, chief psychiatrist at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center.

Dr. Elisaia also readily admits that a majority of the patients seen at LBJ’s Mental Health Clinic, which he heads up, have had prior visits and consultations with either a "fofo taulaitu" or a "fofo taulasea".

Loosely translated, a "fofo taulaitu" is a Samoan herbal specialist that handles matters of the spirit while a "fofo taulasea" is a Samoan herbal specialist that handles physical ailments primarily by massage and native medicines.

"When we look at a mentally ill patient, I believe that what the ‘fofo’ sees is the same as what we see -- the symptoms, the behavior changes -- but the ‘fofo’ sees the condition as spirits while we see it as a brain-based disorder," Dr. Elisaia continues.

"This is not a black and white matter, meaning this is not a matter that we are right and the ‘fofos’ are wrong, nor is it a matter of working against each other," he said.

 

CIGARETTE PRICES HAVE NOT RISEN YET

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 6, 1999 – Samoa News)---"This is a good time to stock up on cigarettes (but don’t forget they get stale).

Local wholesalers are still selling cigarettes at the "old" prices and are holding off on charging higher prices until new shipments come in and are charged the new, higher duty tariffs.

Teddy Duldulao of MC-International, distributors for American brands such as Benson, Kools, and Marlboro, said they will not raise any prices until their current stock is sold out.

"We still have stock that arrived here before the new [cigarette] law," said Duldulao.

 

HENRY AIAVA CLAIMS THE WHOLE STORY IS A LIE

By Lewis Wolman

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 6, 1999 – Samoa News)---Henry Aiava is not done fighting for his good name and his job and his paycheck.

The suspended-without-pay cop visited the Samoa News yesterday to give his side of the story. The story can be summed up as "bad feelings (between him and the DPS Commissioner) equals a biased investigation equals a bogus legal case."

A sexual abuse charge lodged against Aiava last week was dismissed Friday by the District Court after testimony indicated that sex Aiava had with an inmate was consensual.

Aiava is grateful for the dismissal, but says that just as there was no forced sex, there was also no consensual sex.

"The whole story was a fabrication. It was a witch-hunt and I was railroaded. A measure of justice was served when the charge was dismissed, but I am still under attack.

"My lawyer and I accepted the dismissal without ever presenting our case," Aiava said yesterday. "We were prepared to prove that I never had any sort of relations with the inmate on March 9.

"After the government case was so weak, the judge granted a dismissal so our story was never told. But I want to keep my job and restore my reputation so I want to tell my story.

"I feel raped by what has been done to me. When Governor Tauese Sunia returns from off-island, I want to go see him and plead my case. I will have sworn statements supporting my version of events. I’m a cop and I want to remain a cop," the five-year veteran said.

A graduate of the local Police Academy, Aiava has been on the wrong side of top brass for quite a while, he says. The problem got worse late last year, he claims, after he refused to participate in the agency Christmas caroling practices held from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.

"Commissioner Te’o was angry with me. He confronted me, but I still refused. I was trained to be a cop and that is the job I’m going to do during my duty hours. But Te’o right away had me transferred to the Tafuna Correctional Facility.

 

SAMOAN DRAMA FESTIVAL SET FOR OCTOBER 23

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 6, 1999 – Samoa News)---"Visualizing the Culture and History of the Samoans" is the theme for the annual Drama Festival to be held at Samoana’s Lee Auditorium on Saturday, October 23rd.

The program, established in 1996 by the Amerika Samoa Humanities Council, explores the origins of some of Samoa’s historic proverbs and their significance to the culture and current ways of living.

Three youth groups are preparing dramas based on different stories, according to Niualama Taifane of the Humanities Council. They are Amouli’s Catholic Youth, Poloa’s Methodist Youth and Gataivai’s Congregational Christian Church’s Youth.

 

"LIVE ROCK" HARVESTING AND EXPORTATION STOPPED

By Lewis Wolman

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 6, 1999 – Samoa News)---"The exportation of "live rock" from under American Samoa’s near shore waters has been stopped, at least temporarily.

Last week, the American Samoa Coastal Management Program sent Bob Tuiasosopo a request to discontinue his live rock harvesting activities and apply for a Land-Use Permit from the Project Notification and Review System (PNRS).

Tuiasosopo has reportedly reluctantly agreed, and will begin the PNRS review process this week.

ASCMP staff said a land-use permit is required to excavate, whether on land or underwater.

Samoa News efforts to reach the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources have been unsuccessful. DMWR staff have stated that Tuiasosopo has a permit to mine the "live rock" (rock that underlies coral reefs).

Tuiasosopo has a business license and commercial fishing license to export tropical fish from American Samoa.

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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