Faleomavaega welcomes calls to review political status
In an interview with Radio Australia’s Campbell Cooney aired late yesterday, Cong. Faleomavaega Eni told the interviewer that he welcomes recent calls made by Gov. Togiola Tulafono for the territory to review its relationship with the United States and look at the options.
“Maybe after 112 years … it is time to look at whether or not being an unorganized unincorporated territory is a good status to be in, I for one do not like this at all,” said Faleomavaega on Radio Australia.
Faleomavaega told the interviewer that the territory needs to be a little more serious about what its options are. He brought up options like free association and covenant relationships — saying that basically there are many types of relationships to have with the U.S.
The congressman said Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa gave a constructive speech at Flag Day, giving a sense of history about what Samoa has had to go through since gaining its independence in 1962. Faleomavaega recalled that the Prime Minister said American Samoa needs to look a little deeper in light of its struggles.
Faleomavaega said that many people in American Samoa think the territory should stick with the status quo and not rock the boat. But what about a sense of self-esteem and self-dignity, he asked? “…sometimes territories are left between the cracks… I for one would really like to change.”
He cautioned that he would like any change to be because the people willed it, not because of outside influences. “That's what I'm afraid of… that there’s going to be influences to the extent that there won't be many actions or choices as to how we determine our own destiny.”