SENATE CONFIRMS NEWEST IMMIGRATION BOARD MEMBER
The Senate yesterday in a 12-1 vote approved the governor’s nomination of Tuala Mike Sala as a member of the Immigration Board and it's now up to the House to make the final decision on the nominee before he is fully confirmed by the Fono.
Tuala, whose term is four-years, replaces Moetulu’i Sipili Fuiava, who resigned to take up a full time position in government.
Prior to the Senate vote, the Senate Judicial Committee held a confirmation hearing yesterday morning where Tuala was asked if he sponsors any immigrants and Sala said “no”, he does not.
Committee chairman Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono noted that during the nominee's tenure as the first director of the local Department of Homeland Security (ASDHS) Tuala dealt with many law enforcement issues and asked Tuala to give a briefing on human trafficking, overstayers, and corruption.
Soliai said all these issues are related to the Immigration Board and senators should hear more about such details.
Tuala said that before he left ASDHS, the department had started to implement a data base system on human trafficking, drug trafficking, corruption and overstayers. He says the ASDHS data base was to be integrated with computer systems of other ASG entities such as immigration, customs, and the attorney general’s office.
He explained that the current Immigration computer system is a stand alone system and does not share information with other local law enforcement agencies, while the new data base will provide “information sharing” among local agencies.
For example, he says the passport scanned at the airport of an arriving passenger, will have that information sent directly to ASDHS and other entities.
Tuala also says that this data system can also monitor drug trafficking, drug couriers or those bringing in money for drug purposes.
“Communication and sharing information” between law enforcement agencies is very important and this data system at ASDHS, if fully implemented, will address these issues, he said.
Tuala was urged by Soliai that, if he is confirmed by the Fono, he must look at the local immigration problem of so many overstayers.
REP SAULO CALLS FOR PAVEMENT OF MALAEIMI ROAD
A resolution calling for Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga to direct the head of Public Works to immediately make plans to implement the paving of the road leading from Malaeimi to Tafuna and Kokoland was introduced in the House last week.
Sponsored by Rep. Florence Vaili Saulo, the non-binding resolution says that with the commencement of the new school year and the steady increase of privately owned, government and commercial vehicles and school buses on the road, there is a vast increase in traffic resulting in a very high volume of vehicles utilizing one single main highway in order to take children to and from their homes.
The resolution points to a significant number of vehicles come from Nuuuli, Malaeimi, Mapusaga Fou, Mesepa, Faleniu, Pava’ia’i, Aoloau and A’asu to transport their children to Kanana Fou, Samoa Baptist Academy, South Pacific Horizon, Tafuna High School, Pacific Horizon, Tafuna Junior High and Fatuoaiga Kindergarten.
Instead of vehicles having to route through the Nu’uuli Airport Road intersection, these families and their children would benefit from an accessible road leading from the village of Malaeimi to the Tafuna and Kokoland Intersection, says the resolution.
The resolution also points out that on a daily basis many travelers also make their way to businesses and religious locations concentrated in this area. “For years, there has existed an access road connecting the main highway in the Malaeimi Village to the Tafuna area of Tualauta District, and unfortunately this road has never been paved and has since deteriorated to the point where it's almost impassable.”
The DPW has abandoned any recent efforts to make agreements with families, who own land on which this road runs, so that connection can be made to help alleviate traffic congestion; in addition, the construction of this road would help with flood mitigation, says the resolution.
The resolution further notes the plans should allow for the construction of proper drainage of water.
“There is a constant call for flood control as even the slightest of rainfall causes overflow streams, damaging property and creating a serious threat to the lives of residents; and the benefits to constructing and paving the access road between Malaeimi and Tafuna far outweigh any burdens that might be encountered by the government in its planning and implementation.”
The resolution also states that discussions and agreements should be made with landowners to permit paving of this much needed road as to alleviate the congestion in traffic in the most populated District. This resolution was assigned to the Public Works Committee chaired by Rep. Puletu Dick Koko.
GOV INCLUDES FAGATOGO MINI PARK UNDER SPECIAL PROGRAMS
After many appeals to the American Samoa Government to include the Fagatogo Playground Mini Park Project under Special Programs, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has answered the plea of Fagatogo faipule Maugaoali’i Leapai Sipa Anoa’i and included this project in the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request.
Maugaoali’i thanked the governor for prioritizing the community improvement projects, earmarking $100,000 in the budget under Special Programs. He stated that this speaks directly to the governor’s character and integrity. “I am most appreciative of you keeping your promises to the residents and the youth of our district.”
Maugaoali’i said he has pleaded with prior administrations for assistance and the requests have almost always gone unheard. “With the earmarks in this year’s budget, I am confident that, given Fagatogo’s location and history, an administration has finally recognized the needs of our youth and the potential for both social and economic growth in the downtown area.
“I am equally grateful for the earmarks provided for both the Market Place and High School Gymnasium improvements," he said. He further stated that since its construction, Samoana High School Gymnasium has been utilized for activities that were clearly not intended for its original use. Certainly these functions and social gatherings at the gymnasium and its excessive use has made the repairs and renovations necessary.
The Market Place improvement is also a project of great interest, the faipule said and noted the proper maintenance and repairs to the Market Place will truly help to bolster economic growth for the Territory.
Mauagaoali’i also pointed out that he and Senator Mauga T._ Asuega have been discussing for many years their wish for a memorial to be constructed across from the High Court to commemorate the raising of the first US flag and our relationship with the United States of America.
The location of the memorial within the proposed Fagatogo Mini Park Playground across from the High Court, is an ideal location given the historical significance of Fagatogo and the High Court building, said Maugaoali'i.
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