American Samoa welcomes DOI secretary Ryan Zinke with fanfare
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The main highway in Tutuila is all decorated and local students, along with ASG employees, will stand along both sides of the road today, to await US Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke’s pass-through motorcade which will be led by a police escort this morning.
Zinke will be arriving in American Samoa around 7:15a.m.today.
At a press briefing yesterday afternoon, the Governor’s Office reconfirmed that Zinke’s delegation, arriving on a US aircraft, is scheduled to land at Pago Pago International Airport around 7:15a.m. and will be greeted by a local delegation, while Samoan entertainment will be carried out on the grassy area at the airport.
Zinke will be in the Airport VIP Lounge for a brief break before boarding the motorcade heading into town. From the airport, the motorcade with travel along the airport road on to the main road in Nu’uuli - instead of the original plan to detour through the Industrial Park.
From Nu’uuli the motorcade heads to town, with Zinke’s delegation making a brief turn to loop through the LBJ Medical Center compound. The group then heads straight for StarKist Samoa, where company management and employees are expected to be out in full force to welcome Zinke and his group, but no stop is expected there. However, don’t be surprised if Zinke steps out to shake hands with workers.
The delegation turns around at StarKist and heads to the Su’igaula o le Atuvasa at Utulei Beach for the traditional welcoming 'ava ceremony, carried out by the American Samoa Community College and overseen by the Office of Samoan Affairs. During the 'ava ceremony, Samoan untitled men, will stand guard surrounding the Samoan fale where the ceremony will be held.
It's at Utulei Beach where Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga will give welcoming remarks followed by an address by Zinke after the 'ava ceremony. Zinke has specifically invited local veterans to the event. Lunch will be served before the delegation heads back to the airport, going through the Tafuna Industrial Park route.
Based on the plan, the delegation is scheduled to depart the territory around 2p.m.
Students from schools along the motorcade route will be on both sides of the main highway to welcome Zinke and will also wave goodbye as he leaves. ASG workers are also expected to be out, waving to the motorcade.
With Zinke’s visit, traffic is expected to be busy or very slow along the main road.
American Samoa will be the last stop for Zinke, who led the US delegation to the recent Pacific Island Forum meeting in Nauru, followed by a visit to Papua New Guinea as well as a stop in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.