Community News Briefs
PACIFIC BEAUTIES ACKNOWLEDGE SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS
The nine Pacific beauties renewed their faith in the Lord, and acknowledged His blessings to begin a new week of activities for the 31st annual Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in Nadi, Fiji.
After arriving and settling-in over the weekend, the Contestants and the reigning Miss Pacific Islands began the pre-Pageant week’s activities by attending a Sunday service at the International Full Gospel Church.
Following the church service, the ladies visited and enjoyed the fresh scents of the Garden of the Sleeping Giant just outside Nadi, where they conducted the official photo shoot and later treated to a luncheon in town.
Further Pageant activities for the week include other visits to tourism sites and resorts around Nadi, before judged events and categories spread throughout four Pageant nights such as the pre-Pageant Interview, opening performance and introduction, sarong, traditionally inspired attire, stage interview and talent.
The Pageant nights of competition will be from the 6th to the 9th of December, 2017 at Prince Charles Park.
Voting for Miss Pacific Islands 2017 is now open. To vote, click Like on the photo of your favourite contestant. The Contestant with the most Likes on their photo will win the award for Miss Internet. Voting closes on Friday 8th December at midnight, Fiji time.
SAMOA AGAIN PROPOSES AM SAMOA SET UP SHOP IN APIA
Samoa has again proposed for American Samoa to consider opening an office in Apia to facilitate travel of nationals of the two Samoas, according to the meeting communique from last week’s Two Samoa Talks held in Apia.
It also says Samoa has confirmed land offered for this purpose and suggested consideration of signing a Memorandum of Understanding as soon as possible.
In a land trade agreement between the two Samoas a few years ago, Samoa offered land at Vailima for American Samoa, and in return, Samoa was offered government land in Tafuna.
Samoa has already opted to lease its land to a local taxi association for use until such time Samoa decides how best to use it.
American Samoa has been exploring options for use of the land in Samoa. There was a proposal in the past to set up an office there, but there are concerns because American Samoa is part of the US, and therefore cannot set up its own office in a foreign country.
Responding to questions during a recent news conference, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga said he doesn’t believe there are federal regulations that prevent American Samoa from developing mutual issues of interest with Samoa.
He said an American Samoa office in Apia would assist travelers between the two Samoas as well as any other minor issues. He stressed that setting up an office in Apia doesn’t mean American Samoa will change its political relationship with the US.
GOVERNOR ON MANDATE FOR ASG SEMI AUTONOMOUS AGENCIES
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has suggested to ASG semi autonomous agencies to work with his office if their given mandate requires changes, instead of going beyond services cited in the mandate.
This was the governor's statement during a recent cabinet meeting, in response to remarks by Shipyard Services chief executive officer, Moefa’auo William Emmsley’s update on shipyard activities.
According to Moefa'auo, there are hardly any vessels coming in for repairs.
He said staff is working to “implement the diversification plan”, which looks at non-ship repair jobs where the shipyard can apply its crew's “skill-sets” such as welding, while waiting for new vessels for repairs. He noted that about 60% to 70% of shipyard workers have tradesmen licenses while the rest are undergoing testing.
The goal of this initiative, he explained, is for all to get tradesmen licenses, which are issued by the government. Once licensed, these employees will seek “certification at the national and international level,” he added.
In response, the governor said, “I think this holds true with other authorities”, like American Samoa Power Authority and American Samoa Telecommunications Authority, that “whenever there’s a shortage of funding, you tend to look into expanding your services outside of your operation.”
“We strongly suggest, that if you feel like you’re given a bigger mandate than what you can generate [in revenue] to provide the service... talk to us and the Fono,” he said.
“One simple way to do that is to reduce the mandate that was given to you, instead of you going out to the community to solicit a revenue source or a revenue stream to off-set costs, as it might create confusion in our economic development process,” he continued.
According to the governor, some of the services provided by employees of the authorities can be shared and are useful to other ASG agencies.
“So it's something to think about,” Lolo said to Moefa’auo. “Instead of going out searching for jobs, come to us and let us know what we can do to properly move and serve the needs of your agency.” He reiterated the same message to other authorities.
With federal fishing restrictions on US flagged purse seiner fleets fishing in US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and high seas, many US vessels have relocated to other fishing grounds, further away from American Samoa. This has affected the shipyard, with fishing vessels opting to go to foreign countries that are closer to their fishing areas for repairs.
Meanwhile, utilization of the shipyard was discussed at last week’s 2 Samoa Talks held in Apia. According to the summary of the meeting, American Samoa informed Samoa about the availability of its shipyard facility to maintain large vessels while Samoa offered its slipway for small vessels.
15 CRUISE SHIPS CONFIRMED FOR 2018
So far, fifteen cruise ships have been confirmed to call in to the Port of Pago Pago in 2018, bringing over 34,000 passengers and crew, according to the American Samoa Visitors Bureau's cruise ship schedule, which notes that the first ship of year, and the only one for January, is the ‘Seven Seas Mariner’, arriving on Jan. 29th.
February, so far, has the highest number of ships calling into port with four, while November has three. April and December each has two ships arriving, with one each for March, May, and October.
ASG officials are hopeful that more cruise ships will be confirmed for 2018.
Meanwhile, 9 ships are already confirmed for 2019 and 3 for 2020.
The ASVB will continue to update the information schedule on <www.americansamoa.travel>
For the rest of 2017, there are two more ships scheduled to call into port.
The Amsterdam arrives from Suva, Fiji on Dec. 7th and will depart at 5p.m. for Honolulu while the Maasdam is set to dock on Dec. 10th from Bora Bora, French Polynesia before it departs for Savusavu, Fiji in the evening.