Am. Samoa Speaker Threatens Absent Lawmakers With Pay Cuts

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Unexcused absences in Fono annoy Savali Talavou Ale

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, July 15, 2015) – House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale has threatened to cut the paycheck of the lawmakers on island who are not attending the Fono sessions. The comment was made when the House Secretary Fialupe Fiaui made the roll call for lawmakers during the House regular session and noted that eight lawmakers did not call in to inform the Fono they would not be present.

Lawmakers who were not present were: Maugaoalii Sipa Anoa’i, Su’a Alexander Jennings, Vaetasi Tuumolimoli Moliga, Vui Florence Vaili Saulo, Matagi Tavita Sialega Mauga, Legae’e Mauga, and Toeina Autele.

During the session, Savali stated that it's becoming a habit that lawmakers are not coming into Fono sessions, yet they are officials elected by the people and it's their duty to come to the Fono when the Fono is in session.

He made it clear that if the lawmakers are out sick, that's ok, however when they have no reason to miss the session, and yet they are on island — that is unacceptable, and it appears this is becoming a habit with lawmakers, not attending their sessions.

Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui Jr stated that two lawmakers did contact him as to their absence from the Fono, as they are both off island attending meetings. Those two are Vui and Vaetasi.

Manu’a lawmaker Vesi Fautanu brought up issues with the fiber optic in Manu’a as there have been complaints, and he said the ASTCA board and management should be questioned about the problems with the fiber optic.

Another issue he brought up is what action has the Department of Homeland Security taken in terms of compiling reports on several landslides in Manu’a that have affected certain parts of the Manu’a Islands. The last issue he noted that he wants the Fono to look into, is the study by the Territorial Energy Office on fossil fuels to be conducted on Manu’a islands.

In the meantime, the house Health Committee will hold a hearing today following reports about the hospital shortage of physicians for internal medicine and other issues that Samoa News has been covering, including the dengue fever epidemic.

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