AMERICAN SAMOA: WE'LL END UP LIKE FIJI, WARNS CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (February 8, 2002 - Samoa News/PINA Nius Online)---The day will come when American Samoans will be sweeping streets and stores while foreigners control the private sector, according to Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega.

Faleomavaega, discussing the issue on radio, said local legislators are concerned about other ethnic groups taking over leadership posts and businesses, similar to what has occurred in Fiji.

Faleomavaega, the territory's representative in Washington, echoed similar concerns and comparisons about Fiji recently expressed in neighboring independent Samoa. The concerns follow the growing number of Asians moving to Samoa.

Faleomavaega said that the way American Samoan laws are structured, foreigners can operate local businesses by using American Samoans to obtain permits and licenses.

Instead of a "partnership" between the foreigner and the American Samoan, Faleomavaega said the American Samoan receives only a monthly stipend, while the foreigner takes the lion's share of the earnings.

"But the whole purpose of our business laws was to help enterprising Samoans become better business people through partnerships with these foreigners," he said.

Faleomavaega said that it's "such an easy procedure" for a foreigner to set up business in the territory. But he said an American Samoan, "in no way, would be able to do the same in Korea and other Asian countries – establish a business."

Faleomavaega claimed that the foreign managers of businesses are bringing in their families to run the operations while local workers are being displaced.

"My questions is: what are we doing about it? What is our government doing about this issue?

"The day will come when American Samoans are going to end up sweeping the streets and the stores -- for the simple reason that the local businesses will be controlled by non-Samoans."

He said that this remark should not be misconstrued as being "racist."

Said the Congressman. "I have to lay it squarely on the leaders of our government. They are the ones that passed the law. They are the ones that make the laws.

"So if there is concern about expatriates or non-Samoans being here, we are the ones that brought them here in the first place."

He also pointed out that there has been no action taken to close this loophole. "And why? I'll leave that to the public as to why these loopholes continue to stay the way they are now."

"We are already in the minority and that's sad," said Faleomavaega, noting that there are no visible efforts being made by the local government to curb the influx of foreigners.

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

For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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