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Commish suspends issuance of Visitor’s Permits to drive in the territory

Commissioner of Public Safety William Bill Haleck has suspended issuing Visitor’s Permits for visitors to operate vehicles in the territory, claiming the law is not clear on the visitor’s permit.


Responding to Samoa News queries, Haleck explained currently Captain Pierre Clemens is working closely with the governor’s office to initiate legislation to change the law. Currently the law only states the fee for the visitor’s permit, which is $9 and does not specify, who is eligible.


The Commissioner said they are hoping to submit this new legislation to the Fono when they reconvene in July. This law would accommodate people who come to the territory for a year or two, as well as visitors who wish to operate vehicles in the territory.


“Right now with the practice … there’s too many things that can go wrong, there’s too many loopholes … because the law does not specify who is eligible,” he said.


He further noted that United States specifications for a local driver’s license is that you must have a Social Security Number and then “we issue a driver’s license for a visitor who’s only here for a year or two, however the proposal we anticipate to submit would be a conditional driver’s license for visitors that they can use only in American Samoa.”


Last week, Haleck issued a memorandum directing OMV Manager, Commander Lee Vaouli to inform those who are seeking a visitor’s permit to drive that while DPS understands their situation and are not insensitive to their predicament, issuance has been suspended.


“As such, further inform them I (Commissioner) am currently working on an alternative way to better meet their needs and convenience in this regard and hope to get this done with the Fono when it goes into session this summer.


“Ask them for their patience and understanding as this course of action will serve to benefit not only a few people, but everyone in the territory as a whole,” said Haleck.