AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS

admin's picture

 AMERICAN
SAMOA NEWS
October 25, 1999
Samoa News

HIGH LEVEL TASK FORCE TO TACKLE FINANCIAL PLANNING

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 25, 1999 – Samoa News)---Governor Tauese Sunia has reconstituted the Government's Financial Recovery and Planning Task Force with the Director of the Department of Commerce appointed it's chairman.

Governor Tauese rejuvenated the Task Force in a General Memorandum issued October 18th.

The members of the Task Force include DOC Director Aliimau Scanlan, Treasurer Tifimalae Ale, Budget Officer Opa Joe Iuli, and the Governor's Legal Counsel, Henry Kappel.

 

FAUTASI RACE MISHAP RESULTS IN NO INJURIES OR DAMAGE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 25, 1999 – Samoa News)---No one was injured when the Faasaulala from Vailoatai capsized after encountering high waves as it moved toward the starting line for Friday's Mosooi Fautasi Race.

The race was canceled.

News of the trouble at sea reached Governor Tauese Sunia and other guests awaiting the start of the race at the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources compound. The Governor was kept informed of the situation and told the gathering that "everyone is safe."

 

TOGIOLA THANKS SPONSORS FOR MOSOOI FESTIVAL SUPPORT

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 25, 1999 – Samoa News)---The local business community has come through not once but many times for government-sponsored activities.

Lt. Governor Togiola Tulafono made this fact known during his closing remarks Thursday night at the end of the three nights of cultural and religious performances at the Lee Auditorium.

The performances were part of the Mosooi Festival and Safe Drug Free Week in American Samoa.

 

AE AE LOOKING INTO ASG EMPLOYEES WHO GET PAID WHILE OFF-ISLAND

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 25, 1999 – Samoa News)---ASG workers who remain on the payroll while studying or spending time off-island have always raised eyebrows.

Now they are raising the eyebrows of Rep. Muavaefaatasi Ae Ae, Jr., who is looking into the practice.

"Voters and other people are bringing this issue to my attention and I need to find if such practices exist," Rep. Muavaefaatasi explained.

 

REGISTRAR HAPPY TO BE BACKED UP BY COURT RULING

PAGO PAGO--Territorial Registrar Starr Schuster is pleased with the High Court’s recent ruling on matai selection, "because I now have the court’s backing on enforcing a family’s full participation in the selection of their matai."

She was also quick to note that the "Taliaaueafe" title case had been handled by a predecessor TR.

"What the court describes (false or misleading claims about family support} has been a serious problem for this office," she explained.

"And this court ruling really helps to clean up that problem. For that, we are grateful."

But Mrs. Schuster also acknowledged that it is "very difficult" for her office to confirm whether a family meeting has actually taken place to discuss and nominate a successor to a matai title.

To help make it easier, Schuster now requires that all family meetings for matai selection be certified by the pulenu’u (village mayor), she told Samoa News.

"Please don’t come to the Registrar’s Office until you have been nominated by your extended family," she cautioned. "Those who want to register a title must realize that their families are the bosses of those titles. ‘O mea sina aiga!"

 

FAISUA POLICIES CONCERN AQUACULTURE COOPERATIVE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 25, 1999 – Samoa News)---The American Samoa Government raises faisua and controversy.

The most recent controversy involved allegations that faisua raised by the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources had been improperly exported to independent Samoa.

The allegation, lodged by the Aquaculture Cooperative of American Samoa (ACAS), prompted Rep. Sua Schuster to call a hearing of his House Ways and Means Committee.

ACAS is upset because when it sought access to faisua to start marine farms, it was told none were available. Yet the group believes that the clams were available when Samoa wanted them.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS October 21, 1999

Samoa News

 

AMERICAN SAMOA STUDENTS ATTEND HAWAII JOB CORPS

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 21, 1999 – Samoa News)---The first group of students from American Samoa to attend the Hawaii Job Corps Center in Honolulu departs on Friday.

The three students and their mothers attended a briefing yesterday at the House chamber by Junior Faaola, Special Assistant to the House Speaker, who also serves as the local Job Corps coordinator.

Three weeks ago, Hawaii Job Corps official Jack Tuttle spent four days here reviewing and interviewing more than 45 applications submitted to the Speaker’s Office as possible candidates for the Center, located at Waimanalo on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Tuttle identified 16 recipients, and the ball was rolling.

The first recipients to actually leave for Hawaii are Sofia Manu, 22 years old of Leloaloa, Thomas Schuster, 18 of Vaitogi and Charlene Gutu, 22 of Iliili.

All three students are looking forward to a new adventure.

Ms. Manu hopes that Job Corps will help her decide on a future career.

Schuster’s goal is to learn the trade of being an electrician or mechanic. He is a recent graduate of Tafuna High School.

His mother, Oli, said her son is a hard worker and she wants Thomas to return home to "serve the government and people of American Samoa."

Ms. Gutu, an ASCC graduate, wants to explore several alternatives, but her goal is to be an independent businesswoman. Her greatest interest is in computer science.

"With modern technology, everything is computers," her mother Faatupu stated.

Tuttle told the Samoa News that the Job Corps is committed to helping students achieve their goals by placing them in Community Colleges in Hawaii.

According to Faaola, the next group is scheduled to depart for Hawaii on November 5th, followed by more students in January.

"The goal is to send students on a monthly basis, based on the availability of space at the Center in Hawaii," Faaola explained. He also noted that applications are still being screened for possible candidates for next year.

 

PRIVATE GROUP INTERESTED IN TAKING OVER FAISUA FARM

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 21, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Aquaculture Cooperative of American Samoa (ACAS) is interested in operating the Territory’s faisua farm, which is currently operated by its founder and owner, the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources.

ACAS first expressed interest last year and again more recently.

ACAS president Banner Fanene informed the Fono of the group’s interest last week during a House Ways and Means Committee chaired by Rep. Su’a Carl Schuster.

Fanene told the Committee that if the Cooperative ran the hatchery, it would be accessible to any faisua farmer not just cooperative members.

 

JUBILEE PARTY ENDED ALMOST A YEAR AGO

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 21, 1999 – Samoa News)---My, how time flies. It was one year ago this week that the six-day Fono Jubilee Celebration kicked off to great fanfare and even greater rumors that the $100,000 allocated for the 50th anniversary was spent and overspent.

It was not until three months after the celebration that the $500,000 in overspending became known.

The overspending prompted the Senate to call for an investigation of the spending. At the conclusion of the Senate probe, on April 2nd, Jubilee Chairman Senator Moaaliitele Tuufuli was suspended with pay and the Senate findings were turned over to the Attorney General’s Office so that charges could be prepared against wrongdoers, if any.

Legislative Financial Officer Velega Savali lost his job, as did two employees of the LFO.

The House Investigative Committee conducted its own probe of the overspending. HIC completed their hearings in mid-July, but has yet to issue a report.

Now a year has past and neither HIC nor the Attorney General has completed its work.

"The Senate is still waiting for the Attorney General to reply to our findings and report," said Senator Tuilefano M. Vaelaa, Chairman of the Senate Investigative Committee on the Jubilee.

"I have written several letters to the Attorney General asking for the outcome of their investigation," said Tuilefano on Wednesday. "As a Senator, representing the Leasina/Aitulagi district, I am asking the AG, what is the hold-up?"

AG Toetagata Albert Mailo has referred the Senate report to the Territory’s Task Force on White Collar Crime, and has had nothing to say about the status of their work.

The HIC report is being finalized, according to Chairman Malaetasi Mauga Togafau, but the report might not be released until next year when the Fono returns for the Third Regular Session in January. The House membership must endorse the final report before it is submitted to the AG.

 

LEALA WILL TRY AGAIN

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 21, 1999 – Samoa News)---Senator Lealaifuaneva Peter Reid made it official yesterday when he released a statement announcing that he will be a candidate for the office of Governor of American Samoa next year.

Leala has not selected a running mate, but his announcement states that he will introduce his partner for Lt. Governor at a press conference to be held next month.

 

PPSEAWA TO PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN SAMOA

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 21, 1999 – Samoa News)---Women play a vital role in environment management and development," Gretchen Makaiwi said, and that is why the Pan Pacific South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA) is putting together a program of Environmental Education For Women Program.

The venerable service group will hold a Membership Get Together this Saturday to share ideas on creating such a program.

PPSEAWA already is involved through its adoption of Malaloa Park under the Paradise 2000 campaign. The group checks on the site to make sure it is clean and holds regular beautification workdays there.

The group also wants to promote the use of environmentally friendly material and encourages re-use, reduction and recycling of resources.

"American Samoa is such a small piece of land and therefore very fragile. We used to blame the destruction and ills of the land on colonialism, but now we have no excuse and are responsible for sustaining the "ground of our being."

"That’s just one of the community service projects we are starting to work on, but there’s so much to be done," Makaiwi (PPSEAWA Vice President) concluded.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS October 22, 1999 Samoa News

CENTENNIAL BUILDING PLANS STILL SHAPING UP

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 22, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Centennial Building plan is coming along. The ASG Employees Retirement Fund board will soon sign a long-term lease for about half an acre of land that includes the corner lot where the Goodwill building now stands and areas on either side of it (i.e., the motor pool parking lot and the area between the Samoana track and the main road).

The lease will then go to the Fono in the Special Session to be called later this month or next.

 

PRIVATE LAWYER NOT YET PAID BY FONO FOR IMPEACHMENT WORK

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 22, 1999 – Samoa News)---A private lawyer retained to help the House prepare for an impeachment of Governor Tauese Sunia that never took place has never been paid for services he provided to the House Investigative Committee.

An invoice for more than $7,000 from Brian Thompson of Roy Hall and Associates is still floating around the Fono a year after the HIC failed to bring impeachment charges against the Governor.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA’S FEDERAL FUNDS HELD UP IN D.C.

Washington D.C. (October 22, 1999 – Samoa news)---The federal budget process continues to move forward, carrying with it American Samoa’s operating subsidy ($23.1 million), Capital Improvement Projects fund ($10.1 million) and the tobacco settlement deal.

"When the Interior bill eventually becomes law," said Congressman Faleomavaega Eni, "American Samoa will have the option to borrow $18.6 million from the United States at 5.4% interest, and pay back only principle and interest (no fee). This is a better financial arrangement than I think the local government can get anywhere else. The loan would be paid back from American Samoa’s proceeds from the 46-state tobacco legal settlement.

"But, I want to emphasize that this is not being forced on the local government. If ASG can make better use of the tobacco settlement money, it is free to do so."

Unfortunately, President Clinton Administration is expected to veto the bill if it is presented to him in its current form. "I am expecting a Presidential veto of this bill," said Faleomavaega, "but our funding will not be in question."

There has been a heated debate in Washington for some time about how much can be spent in the current fiscal year without using money from the social security trust fund, but it now appears that some of the trust fund money will be used, at least for one more year.

In an effort to reduce overall spending, some members of the majority party are proposing that either all appropriations bills, or at least all the non-defense bills, be cut across the board.

"If an across the board cut is made, that would reduce the funding available to American Samoa in all categories," noted the Congressman.

"The amounts being discussed range from 1% - 6%. Because the President and many Members of both the House and Senate oppose this approach, I do not expect it to become law, but we must recognize that the possibility exists," he continued.

The parts of the federal government which do not have a regular appropriations bill (including the Department of Interior) are operating on an authorization which expires on October 29, 1999. There are 13 appropriations bills. The Interior’s is one of three that have not been finished. The provisions in the Interior bill which are prompting the expected veto include the storage of mining wastes, renewal of grazing permits, the requirement that wildlife surveys be conducted before selling timber in national forests, environmental requirements related to hard rock mining, and the level of royalty payments to the United States on oil produced from federal lands and waters.

 

DOE DIRECTOR PHONES HOME

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 22, 1999 – Samoa News)---DOE Director Dr. Sili Sataua is in Hawaii at a regional conference on technology. He is accompanied by DOE Technology Specialist Michael Leau.

While in Hawaii, the two men visited a Peacesat videoconferencing site to link up with members of the American Samoa Teacher Education Program (ASTEP) for a live video connection with DOE’s central office videoconferencing center.

The director could see and hear the local participants, but the local participants could not see the director (only hear him). In other words, something went wrong.

 

PRISONER WILL STAY ON TUTUILA, IN TCF

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 22, 1999 – Samoa News)---The men and women incarcerated under the laws of American Samoa will remain prisoners in the land of American Samoa.

Governor Tauese Sunia said (Western) Samoa is unable to accept our prisoners due to provisions in its Constitution. He will thank Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi for his cooperation.

Plan B, Tauese says, it is to work as fast as possible to prepare the damaged TCF cell blocks to accommodate prisoners again.

 

SMOKES GOING UP IN PRICE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 22, 1999 – Samoa News)---"It all boils down to which retail store offers the lowest prices, even if the difference is only 25 cents a pack," said Sieni of Ottoville yesterday morning while searching for the best price in the town area.

The new tobacco tax law signed by Governor Tauese Sunia on October 1st is starting to translate into higher prices for cigarettes.

Despite the publicity over the new law, smokers are still surprised to find the price of Asian brands have doubled.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS October 20, 1999 Samoa News

MYNA BIRDS... MYNOR OR MAJOR PROBLEM?

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 20, 1999 – Samoa News)---American Samoa is being overrun. Not merely by budget red ink (it just seems that way), but by non-native avian species like the Myna bird, a common sight at the market these days.

There are two types of Mynas found across our Island, the ‘Common Myna’ and the ‘Jungle Myna.’ The common myna was probably introduced sometime in the late 1970s and the jungle myna came in sometime in the mid to late 1980s.

This is only an educated guess at best, according to Joshua Seamon, a wildlife biologist at the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR). "It’s really based on when people began to report seeing this kind of bird," he said.

 

SAMOAN PASSED ARCHITECT LICENSE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 20, 1999 – Samoa News)---"I finally got it!" declared local architect Justine L. Aetonu-Sotoa after being named an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), which is based in Washington, D.C.

"It took just about forever for them to accept my application," she recalls. "Well, actually about six to eight months for all my credentials to be checked out thoroughly."

The AIA is the largest professional association of architects in the United States and being accepted for membership is a professional honor that is not bestowed lightly.

 

FONO ALMOST READY TO ASK FOR SPECIAL SESSION

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 20, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Fono will most likely soon be asking Governor Tauese Sunia to call a Special Session to review a final budget for fiscal year 2000.

Budget hearings were held for three days last week, even though the Fono is not in session.

Last week’s hearings were called to give the Joint Budget Committee a chance to question Tauese administration members about issues that are not yet resolved.

Committee co-chair Senator Tuilefano M. Vaelaa said that the administration provided some information sought by the committee, but not all of it.

 

ECONOMIC FUTURE FORUMS WILL BE HELD NEXT MONTH

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 20, 1999 – Samoa News)---Public forums will be held next month to gather local opinion and wisdom regarding the future economic growth of American Samoa.

The fora are part of the American Samoa Economic Commission Project established by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt. The sessions will be jointly organized by the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Commerce.

The fora will be held throughout Tutuila, as well as on Ofu, Olosega, Ta’u, and Aunu’u.

 

MIKE SALA CALLS ON TE’O FUAVAI TO TENDER HIS RESIGNATION

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 20, 1999 – Samoa News)---A long-standing feud between Te’o Fuavai and Mike Sala has surfaced publicly.

The most immediate cause of the feud was a recommendation from Commissioner of Public Safety Te’o to the Attorney General that Sala be prosecuted for possible misuse of government funds he controlled to carry out undercover drug operations.

Sala is Director of OTICIDE (Office of Territorial and International Criminal Intelligence and Drug Enforcement), an agency that was broken out of DPS three years ago.

 

American Samoa News October 19, 1999 Samoa News

GOVERNOR TEMPTED BY TOBACCO SETTLEMENT OPTION

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---As the bills mount and the options shrink, Governor Tauese Sunia is giving more serious consideration to "selling" the ASG tobacco settlement annuity to the Department of Interior for $18.6 million.

The transaction will become possible if President Bill Clinton signs the Interior Department’s FY2000 budget in its present form.

The budget document sets aside $18.6 million that Interior could use to purchase the annuity if the Governor and the Fono ask for the money. It also dictates how ASG will spend most of that money.

 

SENDING PRISONERS TO TAFAIGATA IS STILL THE PREFERRED PLAN

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---Sending prisoners to Tafaigata Prison in Samoa is still Governor Tauese’s preferred plan for dealing with the shortage of prison space in American Samoa, but the details have not yet been worked out.

"We are reviewing their laws and they are reviewing ours," Tauese told Samoa News yesterday. "I hope to be able to make some final decisions in the next day or two."

According to the Governor, no matter what arrangements he makes, it will be a few months before there is enough room to house half the 110 inmates presently sentenced to TCF.

 

BLUE SKY INVESTS $7.3 MILLION IN PHASE ONE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---After a capital expenditure of $7.3 million, Phase I of Blue Sky’s program to bring private sector wireless communication to American Samoa is now complete.

"We installed four more cell-site antennas in the past few weeks," General Manager Fagafaga Daniel Langkilde said yesterday, "bringing the total to 12."

Except for a few small areas, Blue Sky now offers service to most of the inhabited areas of Tutuila. The new cell sites provided service to the far east side and some north shore villages.

 

DOE PLANS CURRICULUM FOR HOSPITALITY AND FOOD SERVICE

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Department of Education plans on offering a curriculum for Hospitality and Food Service, according to Acting Director of Education Dr. Claire Poumele.

Dr. Poumele delivered special remarks during yesterday’s opening of the Mosooi Festival and Drug Free Week at Utulei Beach Park. She said this curriculum will help prepare young people to find work in the visitor industry.

 

FIVE YEARS IN JAIL FOR FORMER FIREMAN

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---The Territory’s new mandatory jail term drug law has caught Fa’atui Isaia in its net.

Isaia was sentenced last Friday morning by the High Court to a mandatory five-year jail term without parole or probation, despite his wife’s plea for mercy and leniency as he was the sole support of their family which includes five children, ages 13, 10, eight, six and two.

A jury had previously found Isaia guilty of one count of possession of marijuana.

 

TOUGH LAW IS PART OF THE WAR AGAINST DRUGS

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---American Samoa is waging a war against drugs, Governor Tauese Sunia sternly warned yesterday during his keynote address to open the Mosooi Tourism Festival and Drug Free Week at Utulei Beach Park.

Drugs have affected families, churches, villages and the government "and it’s time to correct this now," Tauese said.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA NEWS October 18, 1999 Samoa News

LONG-SERVING ASG EMPLOYEES HONORED INCLUDING GOVERNOR

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 18, 1999 – Samoa News)---Governor Tauese Sunia was one of 14 government employees honored on Friday for serving the American Samoa Government for 30 years.

The ceremony, held at the Office of Samoan Affairs, also honored 45 government employees for their 20 years of service.

The Governor, who booked most of his years in the Department of Education, received a $750 bonus check and a certificate, as did his fellow 30-year comrades.

Employees with 20 years of service earned a $500 bonus check and a certificate.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Governor Tauese reminded everyone that "tautua (service)" is one of the utmost important aspects of the Samoan culture, noting that it is a waste of life if a person does not provide any "tautua" to either the culture or the government.

He said reaching the 30-year mark is not easy as it takes a lot of hard work and long hours during which family duties and responsibilities are left behind to serve the government.

 

COUNTRY CLUB PURCHASE PRICE: $272,722

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 18, 1999 – Samoa News)---The "Special Service Corporation" of the American Samoa Government purchased the assets of the Country Club for $272,722.

That information was passed along to the Senate last month by Lt. Governor Togiola Tulafono.

ASG/SSC did not have to come up with any money to buy the Country Club.

"ASG agreed that instead of ASG making actual cash transfer to (Country Club owner Bill) Tedreck on a monthly basis, Tedreck would apply its monthly rental for Fagatogo Square to said payment," Togiola explained.

 

61% OF TAFUNA HIGH STUDENTS OPPOSE LEGAL GAMBLING

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 19, 1999 – Samoa News)---More than 60% of Tafuna High School students are opposed to allowing a gambling casino to be built in American Samoa.

That, at any rate, is the result of a poll involving 451 students (almost half the student body) conducted last week. With such a large number of surveyed students, the reliability of the result should be extremely high.

The poll was organized by Arvay Siufanua, a Home Economics teacher who is an admitted foe of legalized gambling due to her great concern for "family values."

 

SALA ACCUSES TE’O OF A PERSONAL SMEAR CAMPAIGN

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (October 18, 1999 – Samoa News)--- Commissioner of Public Safety Te’o Fuavai is recommending, once again, that Michael Sala be prosecuted on criminal charges.

Sala is now the Executive Director of OTICIDE but was a high-ranking Public Safety staff member for many years.

Te’o’s concerns stem from a spot audit performed by the Treasurer’s Office in May of 1999. The Treasurer was interested in reviewing DPS’s "petty cash" fund and somehow they took a look at a $5,000 "drug buy" fund that Sala had responsibility for.

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

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Add new comment