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“NEW SIGHT ON WORLD FAMOUS PAGO BAY: FROZEN FISH HOTEL”

Dear Editor:

This is about the proposed StarKist cold storage facility in Fagatogo. I am just a long-distance observer now, retired to the mainland. I get the bulk of my Tutuila ma Manu’a news from the Samoa News on-line. I have followed the frozen fish hotel story with curious interest since the surprise MOU was announced.

For years I sat on one Pago Pago Harbor development planning committee or commission or another, reviewing and refining one federally funded master plan after another on how to maximize the benefits of Tutuila’s sole world-famous geographic feature, Pago Pago Bay. Grand plans. Some of them might still be found in back files at the Department of Commerce (once the Development Planning Office).

None of those plans envisioned anything like this.

As the former American Samoa Historic Preservation Officer my first reaction was that this huge industrial facility will abut the U.S. Naval Station Tutuila Historic District — the Museum and the malae and its preserved structures — cut it off from the bay, the reason for its existence. It would have a definite negative impact upon historic properties.

But be sensible. Why would that carry any weight with a foreign multi-national corporation?

But what about the territory’s dream of another industry? Tourism? The tour ships and the harbor as a visitor destination? Just planning office dreams, window dressing for federal grants?

But doesn’t it seem obvious to everybody else that the reason StarKist wants the monster there at the main dock is because they have no intention of canning the frozen fish across the bay, but just to hold it there to be transshipped to canneries elsewhere? On and off big ships that need the main dock.

Here on the mainland the real news of this election year is how people seem to be waking up to the fact that the political power of Wall Street, big banks, and giant corporations has made a joke of citizen-based democracy. It would seem that in American Samoa as well “progress” means doing whatever a multi-national conglomerate deems most immediately profitable for itself.

John Enright



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