Heavy Rains Raise Concerns About Excavation Work Near Am. Samoa Lt. Governor's House

Parents concerned with unpermitted work--hillside could slip, endangering Christian school campus 

By Blue Chen-Fruean

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 12, 2017) – With the recent wet weather conditions, callers have been reaching out to Samoa News, worried that the mountainside at Fatu-ma-Futi, which was recently excavated, is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

The area in question is located behind the personal residence of Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga and the South Pacific International Christian Center (SPICC) school campus.

Samoa News understands that the Project Notification and Review System (PNRS) Board never reviewed a Land Use Permit Application (LUPA) for the work and no approval was ever granted for the work to proceed.

When contacted for comments, nobody at the Department of Commerce seemed to have any idea — or want to offer comments — about the matter.

Samoa News was told that it was the Department of Public Works that permitted the project to go forth and inquiries to DPW have also been met with tight lips.

Samoa News was able to verify that a stop order on the excavation was issued back in March to Public Works, “care of Luki Tuitasi” (a Special Projects Coordinator at DPW and also an acquaintance of the Lt. Governor) and no further information could be obtained, as the DOC employees who spoke to Samoa News refused to delve into details.

According to information received by Samoa News, excavation of the area continued, even after the stop order was issued and it wasn’t until the issue was reported in the news last week that heavy equipment at the excavation site was removed and work in the area came to a halt.

A concerned parent who spoke to Samoa News yesterday worries that the recent heavy rains will cause the soil to loosen and eventually result in a mudslide that will cover the SPICC campus.

[PIR editor's note: On May 13, 2017 RNZI reported that 'In American Samoa, a massive landslide at Malota has cut off access to the western end of the island and downed power lines and telephone lines. ... The landslide happened early Thursday morning after a night of incessant rain.']

What exactly the area is intended for was unclear as of press time yesterday.

One local resident questioned the credibility of DPW and said, “If you are part of the system, and the system issues stop orders to residents and the public, then why should any of us honor a stop order when you don’t? This is wrong!”

Another local resident referred to the construction of homes that are allowed to go on without proper monitoring and inspection by DPW, and said there needs to be strict monitoring of those involved in the issuance of permits and follow-ups ‘are a must’.

The Samoa News
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