A Senate Concurrent Resolution conveying the deepest sympathies and sincerest condolences of the Legislature and the people of American Samoa to Mrs. Wilhelmina Aigamaua as well as the Avegalio and Aigamaua families over the passing of the late former Sen. Avegalio Pesamino Aigamaua, is the first measure approved this week during the start of the Second Regular Session of the 35th Legislature.
The resolution, which was approved by the Senate on Tuesday and endorsed by the House yesterday, also pays tribute to Avegalio’s devoted and extensive service to the people of American Samoa.
Avegalio, who passed away June 17 at the age of 80, first served in the House of Representatives, representing Fofo County for 12 years, and later served in the Senate from 2004 to 2016 for the same County.
He was also a US military veteran and served in Vietnam, according to the resolution, which notes that Avegalio “was very proud of his military career” and he along with several local veterans, worked hard to bring the Veterans Administration to American Samoa.
“Avegalio was a family man,” it says, adding that it’s “with great pleasure for the... Legislature to recognize and honor High Chief Avegalio for his contributions to the people of American Samoa. May you have a blessed journey to your well-earned mansion in Heaven.”
The late senator, who served in the US Marines, and was among the very first graduates of the American Samoa Community College, is survived by wife Wilhelmina, four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“The Legislature and the entire Territory joins his family in celebrating his life,” the resolution says.
See yesterday’s Samoa News for details of funeral arrangements as announced by the family.
The Senate is set to convene today at 8a.m. instead of the usual time of 10a.m., so that lawmakers and Fono leaders are able to attend Avegalio’s funeral service.
Committees in both the Senate and House are conducting hearings today as well as tomorrow, to address specific issues raised by lawmakers on Tuesday.
In the Senate, the first hearing deals with concerns over freight fees being imposed on cargo shipped to Manu’a on the MV Manu’atele and the MV Sili. Port Administration issued a public notice several weeks ago about the fees, which has raised criticism from Manu’a residents, who have informed lawmakers.
According to the witness list, testifying at the Senate Port Administration/Airport Committee hearing at 9a.m. today is Port Administration director Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Poumele and Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale.
Taimalelagi is also scheduled to testify on the same issue tomorrow morning (Friday) before the House Port Administration/Port Committee.
Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui Jr., told his colleagues on Tuesday that the people of Tutuila probably take lightly the heavy burden faced by Manu’a residents, who pay about $12.50 for a box of chicken, while on Tutuila the cost is only $3.50
Another issue raised by the Senate and House on Tuesday are the driver's licenses, registration of vehicles and other matters pertaining to the Office of Motor Vehicles.
To answer questions from lawmakers, Police Commissioner Le’i Sonny Thompson and an official from OMV will first appear at 9:30a.m today before the Senate Police Safety Committee and then later at 11a.m. before the House Public Safety Committee.
Tomorrow, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hear from ASG Treasurer Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a about concerns raised by senators on Tuesday regarding the taxing of lawmaker allowances.
For the House LBJ Committee tomorrow, there is an 11a.m. hearing regarding the cost of service at the LBJ Medical Center.
With next Monday being an ASG holiday, Manu’a Cession Day, the Fono will take the day off, but lawmakers return next Tuesday with committee hearings in both the Senate and House on issues such as the school lunch program and local fishermen selling their catch on the roadside.
Meanwhile, the Lolo Administration transmitted last Friday to the Fono proposed measures for consideration. The measures are now being put into bill format before they are introduced in both chambers.