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Fono in Review



The House of Representatives last week approved unanimously a resolution calling on the governor to direct the Director of Port Administration to prepare a comprehensive analysis and provide recommendations for the purchase of a government owned and operated passenger sea vessel to travel between Aunu’u and Tutuila.


This follows a hearing last week, where Port Director, Taimalelagi Dr Claire Tuia Poumele was called to testify on this resolution.


Taimalelagi noted that she supports the resolution, however she’s only been in office for nine weeks and upon meeting with Governor Lolo M. Moliga she will speak to him about this issue.


She further stated the cost for the vessel Uila ole Sami was $100,000 and if there were money to purchase another vessel, the Port Administration would do so, for the residents of Aunu’u.


Vice Speaker Fa’afetai Talia I’aulualo noted the resolution is calling for a comprehensive analysis and asked if the Port can carry this out.


The Port Director said the analysis can be done; noting there was a previous analysis conducted by a certain Port committee for a vessel for Manu’a and therefore one can be conducted for a vessel to be purchased for Aunu’u.


She said the current vessel, Uila ole Sami was purchased in 1999 from off island with monies from the Department of Education and Port Administration, but in less that year after purchase, the vessel broke down.


Taimalelagi said she knows this because this happened when she was the Director for DOE. She further explained that Port and DOE were supposed to share the cost of the repairs, given there was an MOU signed between DOE and Port.


She noted she understands the Uila Ole Sami has been used for cargo for residents in Aunu’u and given there are no seats on the vessel; people cannot travel on this vessel. Also, she explained $88,000 is needed to upgrade it — in order to allow for passengers.


The Vice Speaker noted that an analysis must be conducted given the great need to have a vessel for residents of Aunu’u. Talia urged the Port Director that if they decide to fix the Uila ole Sami they should make sure that it undergoes maintenance regularly.


Talia said they will also bring this up with the Budget Office that there should be money set aside to maintain the vessel for Aunu’u.


The resolution, introduced by Saole Rep. Talaimatai Elisara Su’a, notes that more than 300 people reside in Aunuu and travel daily to Tutuila for work, school, business, and to run errands. It is estimated that on any given day, more than 90% of Aunuu residents travel to Tutuila for official and personal business.


“There is a great need for a permanent solution to the transportation woes of Aunuu. The most reasonable answer is to secure a larger boat for residents to travel not only from Aunuu to Auasi but also to travel farther distances like from Aunuu to the main docks in Fagatogo.”


The resolution says “it would be beneficial for both the government and the residents of Aunuu to secure a passenger vessel that can carry a much larger number of passengers than the alias, which currently do not meet the transportation needs of the island.” 




Rep Vui Florence Vaili Saulo informed the House of Representatives that the process of fixing the roads in Tualauta area is progressing smoothly. Vui was referring to the roads in Cocoa land and Fagaima.


The Tualauta faipule noted she was working closely with Department of Public Works given their equipment was used while she purchased the loads of dirt to cover the potholes. 


The Faipule noted that she’s continuing to work with the DPW on the roads, like the dirt roads in Ili’ili behind the golf course, and the Fogagogo road,


She informed the house members that this is one of the projects she’s currently working on in her District. Vui thanked Faleosina Voight, the Public Works Director for their partnership in fixing the long overdue road problems that have been faced by the Tualauta residents




Given the overrun of water in the streets of Fagatogo, Rep Maugaoalii Leapai Tusipa Anoa’i has written to Department of Public Works Director, Faleosina Voight regarding this issue. “I have directed the concerns of our district to Mr. John Goeke in recent weeks regarding the overrun of water into the streets in Fagatogo across from the Maleoletalu.”


According to the letter, this problem continues to exist particularly during heavy rains and Mr. Goeke (the project manager) for the Fagatogo streams in 2009 claims that he has emailed DPW Director expressing concerns about how Public Works can assist in resolving these issues.


“Needless to say no action has been forthcoming from your department regarding these concerns and the problems continue to mount. I have also sent you an email with photos attached for your review and understanding. Director, I cannot be more clear as to how critical and serious these concerns are for the safety of our community.


“Furthermore, I have included in my email photos of unsafe road conditions that continue to present major problems for the safety and welfare of the public. The unsafe conditions of these roads in Fagatogo suggest that an immediate solution to resolve these concerns should be dealt with in a timely manner,” said Muagaoalii.


He notes in his letter his hope is that this issue will be addressed and placed on the DPW Director's priority list of projects to maintain and complete in the next few weeks.