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Suggest territory ‘return to the basics’

By Tina Mata’afa

PAGO PAGO, America Samoa (Samoa News, May 30, 2009) – Several traditional leaders have written a letter to Gov. Togiola Tulafono, offering ideas on how American Samoa can deal with the looming closure of COS Samoa Packing, that they say will affect more than 2,000 local employees.

In the letter, dated May 29, 2009 and drafted in the Samoan language, the leaders — Secretary of the Office of Samoan Affairs Tufele F. Li’amatua, Western District Governors Satele Galu T., Eastern District Governor Gaoteote Tapatonu, Manu’a District Governor Misaalefua Hudson and Deputy Secretary of Samoan Affairs Nanai K.S. Afuola — make several suggestions.

They say one way to solve the problem is to have the government run a cannery, whether it be COS or StarKist.

Another way, according to the leaders, is to have the governor work with traditional leaders, Fono reps, village mayors in order to develop the natural resources of American Samoa.

They suggest bringing the territory back to the basics, so to speak, and focus its efforts to develop commerce in agriculture with the help of government agencies such as the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources.

They note that looking to the ocean and land was the way Samoans lived before the canneries came to the islands.

The leaders also suggest that the government develop the properties in Atu’u.

Additionally, they advise the governor to have the ASG treasury, Budget Office to implement cost-saving measures within the government to help those who will be laid off or have had their hours decreased.

The letter is signed by each leader.

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