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Government pushing for jobs during military build-up

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 8, 2011) – The push to have American Samoa workers migrate to Guam for the military buildup is worrying industries which are dependent on tradespeople.

Governor Togiola Tulafono says the Guam government has approved having a local representative serve as a liaison for American Samoa workers who move to Guam.

But the chairman of the American Samoa Shipyard Services Authority, Carlos Sanchez, says it’s already difficult to fill these type of jobs in the territory.

"It’s very hard to find American Samoa people, welders, things like that, it’s very hard to find them. We mainly use [people from] Western Samoa."

Mr. Sanchez says he has discussed the shortage of skilled laborers with Governor Togiola Tulafono in light of the plan to send local workers to Guam.

[PIR editor’s note: In 2010, Guam’s governor had supported the idea of importing labor from American Samoa. American Samoa was identified earlier this year as a possible and likely candidate for export workers for Guam’s military buildup. Committee member Aumua Amata "persuaded" a U.S. recruiting company to give American Samoan applications top consideration. Amata also said that American Samoans were a familiar part of the workforce on Guam, referencing the 1980s when laborers were present to build a number of hotels.]

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