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On the Campaign Trail 2012

Jones-Tuika at Chamber; Afoa-Le'i 'fun day'
reporters@samoanews.com
Gubernatorial Candidates Tim Jones and Tuika Tuika during their meeting with the Chamber of Commerce last week Thursday held at the Naumati Conference room at the Tradewinds Hotel. [Photo: JL]

TIM JONES & TUIKA TUIKA UNVEIL THEIR 10-YEAR ECONOMIC PLAN

Gubernatorial Team Tim Jones and Tuika Tuika pitched their ten-year plan when they were before the Chamber of Commerce last week Thursday.

The 10-year plan hinges on the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), which Team Jones and Tuika believe is the answer to the rising cost of electricity and cheaper power and also the beginning of movement for economic growth for American Samoa.

Jones told members of the CoC prior to their presentation — that there were three things his grandfather told him about lies from a politician.

*The first lie a politician would tell you is when he puts a sign on the side of road, with a smile in a nice outfit and slogan written by someone else to get the people’s attention.

*The second lie the politicians tell is about all the things he can do in the government when he’s elected with all the new improvement he’s going to make, but never seems to happen because there’s never money to do them and it’s all forgotten.

*The third lie is he’ll remember you after he’s elected.

Jones explained the three lies has been stuck on his mind since he considered running for office several years back and that is why he does not have any signs on the side of the road and why he’s not going to make promises about things he wouldn’t know about until  he’s governor.  

Jones said he and Tuika have different viewpoint on different issues but they have the common goal and the common end game.

“If you really ever want to know what is and what’s really been happening in ASG, my partner is your candidate of choice.

“He’s committed and focused on transparency and following the law” which is not a new message from Tuika who has been repeating this in the past years, said Jones.

“If you ever want a short of fairness across all levels of the American Samoa government then I too am your candidate of choice,” he said.

Jones said in order to fill enormous debt the government is currently having there’s a need of revenue sources.

He added that he has seen proposals from other gubernatorial candidates on tourism for economic development.

“Tourism is dependent on the world economy, if the world economy is good, people travel and spend money and if the world economy is not good they don’t.” Jones added that we should work on tourism, however he’s not a proponent of “fixing the economy on something we have no control over, as far as the world economy is concern, however power and energy we do have,” he said.

ENERGY/OTEC

Jones said the largest solar panel in American Samoa, is the Pacific ocean which consumes the suns power all day and stores the energy in form of heat on the surface.

“The Pacific ocean is at our door step with unlimited thermal energy absorbed by the sun sitting on the surface waiting to be converted to electrical power that is what OTEC does.” He said the ocean thermal uses the temperature difference between cooler deep and warmer shallow or surface ocean waters to run a heat engine to produce electricity.

The gubernatorial candidate explained that the idea was offered several years back but it was turned down due to the high cost of building a power station for the territory, however that was back then.

“We are projecting the cost at about $200 million for a 20-megawatt power station that will supply the majority of American Samoa’s power needs and this plant could be expanded on for export power to Apia.”

He added that ASPA spends approximately $100 million a year on diesel fuel for power generation. “That means the $200 million capitalization budget that is required for this project is irrelevant, doesn’t matter it will pay for itself in the next four or five years including interest after that it’s free energy, minus the maintenance of the OTEC project.

“Now you have a $100 million a year after the four years it pays itself off and back in to our economy, there is no tourist project or any industry project offered by any other candidate of putting $100 million back into your pockets” said Jones.

He said once OTEC is up and running it means cheaper power for American Samoa which will be corner stones for our financial independence.

Local homes will save money, businesses will get much needed relief from the monthly strain of costs of energy, manufacturers can compete against foreign imports, StarKist can potentially become the most highly competitive tuna cannery in the world, because its cost for energy will fall way below competition, and foreign manufacturing will find American Samoa highly attractive for investment due to low energy rates.

Samoa News will report on the second part of this article later this week.

AFOA & LE’I FAMILY FUN DAY

Some 20 tents at Su’igaula ole Atuvasa Beach were overflowing with family, friends and supporters of all ages for the Gubernatorial Team of Afoa Su’esu’e Leulumoega Lutu and Le’i Sonny Thompson at a “Family Fun Day” event held yesterday, which celebrated the high spirits and hopes of the team.

The earlier rain in the morning did not stop many of the youth, who caught buses to attend the event. Many attendees started arriving at around 5am for the event, which was from 9am to 2pm. The activity packed Family Fun Day kicked off with a prayer from Youth Pastor Todd Laulusa, and brief remarks were offered by the gubernatorial candidates before the Family Fun event began in earnest, with a carnival atmosphere — many were just families coming together to enjoy each others company, with many taking the time to ‘talk story’.

There was also a live broadcast on KSBS FM 92.1 and V103 from 9am to 12noon with DJs Diehl Langkilde and Tracy Roe — allowing the public to catch the mood and come on down to Utulei Beach, for a fun-filled event.

The candidates themselves joined in the fun — starting the festive event "boogie" dancing with the youth and at one point taking to the stage to dance during entertainment provided by the Catholic Youth in Alao and Jojo, all the way from Samoa.

Youth competed in a pie eating contest, in volleyball games, ping pong tournaments, the unique Samoan suipi card game and checkers games. If competition was not your thing — there were booths or huts with demonstrations of culinary activities, hula demo, ukulele playing, an orator and traditional Samoan cultural presentations, and a manicure was possible while the younger ones enjoyed jumpers.

There was also a chance to see firsthand the printing of elei on lavalava or material, while food tastings were enough to whet anyone's appetite, like the booth that offered red, blue and white Samoan pancakes, and Vera Thompson, wife of Lt. Governor Candidate Le’i had a booth with her famous butter muffins and a myriad of homemade baked goods. The food provided was never ending from supo povi, koko alaisa, muffins, eggs and fruit for the breakfast crowd to more traditional Samoan foods mixed with lumpia, barbecue plates and cotton candy and popcorn for the young at heart, later in the day.

Samoa News understands this is last major event the team of Afoa & Le’i plan to host leading up to the Nov. 6 general election, the first Tuesday of next month.

They are planning to participate in the ASCC Meet the Candidates forum, scheduled for this month, and will continue to walk villages to meet the people and host their radio show every Wednesday evening.

Samoa News will publish remarks by Afoa and Le’i during their Family Fun Day in the next edition of Campaign Trail 2012.

photo: JL


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