It’s on again: Gov. Lolo rescues 2018 Flag Day Fautasi Regatta
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has overturned the Flag Day Committee's decision to cancel this year’s Flag Day activities such as the fautasi race and the Samoan cricket competition.
As a result, the Flag Day Committee and fautasi captains held a meeting this week and everyone is on board with the decision to allow the longboat competition to go on.
The fautasi race is set for Saturday morning, April 14th but if the weather is not favorable that day, the race will be postponed to Monday, April 16th.
As for cricket, the Committee is yet to decide whether they will move forward with the games. A senior official from the Office of Samoan Affairs told Samoa News that nothing has changed as far as the Committee's decision to cancel the cricket games.
The decision to cancel the fautasi race was presented by Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega during a Cabinet meeting last Saturday.
Sources told Samoa News that the governor was unhappy when he heard about the Committee’s decision, and immediately advised Mauga that there must be a fautasi race for this year’s Flag Day celebration.
Lolo told his cabinet the fautasi race is one of the main reasons why our people look forward to Flag Day. He said if funding is the main reason why the Committee decided to cancel the race, they should remember that there are funds already allocated for Flag Day expenses, the fautasi race included.
The governor told Mauga and the Committee that if the decision to cancel the race was something that all the villages with fautasi agreed to, then he will support the decision. However, it that isn't the case, he recommends that the fautasi race be held.
MEETING WITH FAUTASI CAPTAINS
After hearing what Lolo had to say, Mauga called a special meeting with fautasi captains on Monday to discuss the issue. Not all skippers were in attendance but those who were, embraced the governor's recommendation.
Soliai T. Fuimaono, on behalf of Manulele Tausala 1 & 2, did not attend this week's meeting but during an initial meeting to discuss the cancellation of the fautasi race, Soliai said Nuuuli would not be competing because their priority is to help families within the village, devastated by Tropical Storm Gita.
When told that there will be a fautasi race, Soliai said the decision has already been made and nothing has changed for Nu’uuli.
“Our village in Nu’uuli has already made a decision — that our two boats will not compete in this year’s fautasi race.
“So now there will be a fautasi race, but nothing has changed as far as the village’s decision … because we believe our people are suffering and we need to save money to help them. Let us show the federal government that we care more for our people than spending money on social activities. Like what I said last week, we are leaders and we need to set good examples for our people to follow,” Soliai said.
Sources told Samoa News that Fagasa has also decided that the Fealofani Samoa will not participate in this year’s fautasi race.
During last week’s meeting between the Committee and fautasi captains — before Lolo agreed to have the fautasi race — Mauga said it was the governor’s recommendation to cancel the race, because the government needs to save money to help families affected by Gita.
A representative from Leone told the meeting last week that their village council had already reached a decision, that the Taema II will not compete this year, because most of the families in the village were affected by Gita, and the village council has instructed the aumaga to help out with cleanup efforts.