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On the Campaign Trail 2012

Team Jones & Tuika address Manu'a transportation, tourism and agriculture issues
reporters@samoanews.com

Manua’s economy is held back mainly due to problems with transportation, however transportation is hindered by both Capitol Investment problems, and imposed regulations and governmental obstacles. Solve these problems and the way is paved for Manu’a to utilize its vast fertile lands to grow incredible crops and livestock for local and export markets.

That was the message from Gubernatorial candidate Tim Jones and Lt. governor candidate Tuika Tuika during a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce last week at the Naumati Conference Room in the Tradewinds Hotel. Governor candidate Jones told the business people present that “while agriculture is doing ok in the territory, it seems to be dominated primarily by Asian workers or, at minimum there is heavy penetration from foreign labor and foreign business owners into the farming of land and sales of produce.”

Team Jones and Tuika plan to create jobs for American Samoans in Manu’a by restructuring the Agriculture efforts and implementing mandates to the Department of Agriculture to move 75% of their budget, assets and personnel into Manu’a for base operations by 2014.

Jones noted that the two-year transition period for Agriculture will allow time for the government to set up reliable transportation of goods into Tutuila and establish export markets by consolidating the best produce and shipping it out to foreign markets.

MANUA CARGO TRANSPORTATION

Jones said the answer to Manua’s transportation issues are to relax regulations to a reasonable point that can be met by the budget and capabilities, with the Coast Guard or outside regulatory agency shutting down transport causing hardships to the people of Manu’a and budget hardships by renting Apia’s boats to supply Manu’a during emergencies.

Jones pointed out that under their administration they will work with the Secretary of Interior to assist the territory in changing regulations that adversely affect transport to Manu’a. He added that the local Coast Guard only enforces the rules and policies, and his administration will change the laws and policies to make enforcement agencies friends of the territory, not enemies.

Jones said for example, foreign fishing vessels of all sizes and capability that fish in Cook Islands and deliver their catch to StarKist pass by Manu’a going to and from the fishing grounds.

“Manu’a could greatly benefit by these boats stopping off the shores of Manu’a while a small boat comes out and picks up Manu’a cargo, or on the way back to Pago stops outside Manu’a and picks up fresh produce, coolers of fish or any other goods.

“It costs these fishing vessels nothing, but maybe an hour of their time, to stop on their way to pick up or drop off goods.”

Jones said, however, the Coast Guard, customs and immigration rules do not allow it. Jones said if he’s elected into office his administration will pave the way for cargo transport for Manu’a without spending monies, utilizing a friendly co-operative effort between the government and the commercial fishing fleet that visit Pago Harbor.

He added that growth of Manu’a should be based on Agriculture and Ecotourism, but those are both dependent on transportation, which can be dealt with through communication with the Interior about priorities.

PRIVATIZED AND ACCREDITED MINI-UNIVERSITIES

Team Jones and Tuika believe that education is no small industry, and major universities in the United States are proof of that. “Small universities could be licensed locally to teach foreign students a specific curriculum that would be accredited, this potentially being a stepping stone to stateside university attendance.

“If this could be accomplished, a great influx of long term education tourists would begin to visit American Samoa resulting in filled rental houses, (solving 1602 housing vacancy issues) with steady reliable subsistence money being pumped into the economy." Jones noted this was an idea that was pitched to him by John Wasko.

Jones added that student tourism is a better idea than the 'birth tourism' that the territory is already investing in today with its immigration sponsorship policies.



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