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Flag Day song groups praise, criticize & wave goodbye

One of the things that attracts a lot of attention at every Flag Day celebration are the statements made by groups through their “pese”, which at times criticize the government or request support.

It was the village of Ofu on Tuesday who sang that Tutuila is so very blessed with everything — including federal money — adding that Tutuila always gets everything. However, they sang that it takes months and years before Manu’a gets anything.

The group reminded the governor that Manu’a continues to suffer with problems of ocean and air transportation. The Fono didn’t escape criticism from the group, who sang that Manu’a has been very patient, but the devil “or tiapolo” is starting to kick in.

They pointed out the MV Sili would sail and then cancel service; the other ASG vessel Fo’isia is still not operating, while the ASG aircraft Segaula flies and then stops operating.

The next group were performers from Alataua county, who gave an upbeat song with their thanks to Gov. Togiola Tulafono for his many years of service as the chief executive of American Samoa. And when his term is over, they said, he is welcomed to reside in Alataua.

Ofu provided the “siva and pese” for the Manu’a District, while Alataua was the pese only for Western District.

During yesterday’s program, Lano village of Savai’i, Samoa sang that they were not pleased with StarKist Company, saying that it has been announced in the past about a cannery plant to be set up in Savai’i but there is still nothing up to this day.

The group wanted to know the truth — if something will be set up — or else the land can be used for an animal farm, or a morgue. They were disappointed to learn that the cannery has let go nationals of Samoa while keeping nationals of the Philippines and India.

The village sang about the LBJ Medical Center’s high fees and the hospital morgue, which has ran out of space.

The group congratulated Togiola for his service in government, saying that the governor has provided many benefits for American Samoa. Lano also noted that there will be a leadership change in the territorial government later this year.

The second group from Samoa, the village of Saleaumua on Upolu Island, sang that they have been waiting a long time for a chance to be invited and the world is close to coming to an end — and they finally got invited.

They also sang that if American Samoa does not care, “we will catch you at the Aleipata wharf” — which is the new Samoa wharf on Upolu island closer to Tutuila. Saleaumua is near the Aleipata wharf.

The village of Vailoa along with members of the SOFIAS group performed the ‘siva’ for the Western District.

As the village of Vatia — performing siva and pese — assembled in the field just after 2:15 p.m, the sun went behind dark clouds and rain began. The rain, however, didn’t stop Vatia from etching their place in the territory’s history book.

The village touched on Togiola’s history at the Executive Branch starting in 1997 when he was lieutenant governor, until Apr. 7, 2003 when he became governor following the death in March of that year, of Gov. Tauese P.F. Sunia.

As previously reported by Samoa News, Togiola’s first elected term in office was during the November 2004 general election and he was again reelected in 2008. This same information was cited in Vatia’s song, which also states that Togiola worked hard and honestly throughout his 15 years in the Executive Office.

The group also acknowledged the strong support from the governor’s wife Mary Ann, whose work as leader of the ‘Taitaitama Prevent Underage Drinking’ group was also praised.