Senior Citizens pageant set for next week

fili@samoanews.com

Senior citizens “King and Queen” pageant, the annual two Samoa Talks, and renovation of the Department of Public Safety building are some of the many issues raised at last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting held at the Agriculture Department conference room.

SENIOR CITIZENS “KING AND QUEEN”

An added activity, which promises to be entertaining, to the Governor’s Annual Christmas Program for senior citizens, is the King and Queen pageant, set for Dec. 7th at the Pago Pago Youth Community Center.

Territorial Administration on Aging director, Evelyn Lili’o-Satele said the governor’s directive is for more activities for senior citizens and they “must be fun”.

“So with that in mind, we’ve added a little bit of something, to this year’s program and  the governor will be hosting a senior citizen King and Queen pageant,” she said adding that many cabinet members have received letters asking for sponsorship of contestants.

Additional, there are “potential” candidates amongst cabinet members.

“Please come forward if you would like to run,” she said. This prompted laughter from the audience, but no cabinet members stepped up to the challenge at the time, although other ASG officials suggested some directors, which resulted in additional laughter from the audience.

Lili’o-Satele said the pageant “promises to be entertaining” — not only from the entertainers they are recruiting, but the “contestants themselves.”

In a letter early this month seeking business and individual support, Lili’o-Satele announced that TAOA will host its first annual King and Queen pageant, under the theme, ‘Once Upon a Time’.

And it “promises to be an exciting event showcasing the talent, style, and youthfulness of our most treasured members of society, our seniors,” she explained, adding that TAOA’s mission is to promote and ensure happiness, good health, high-self esteem and independent living for all seniors.

Competition categories include casual wear, talent, interview, and Samoan siva.

Prior to the pageant is the governor’s Christmas gift giving and celebration of the holidays with seniors at 9a.m. The governor’s chief of staff, Fiu J. Saelua said this year the administration is doing away with fruit baskets for seniors, but instead there will be wrapped gifts, with the contents valued at no less than $20.

A list is being distributed to ASG entities regarding the number of Christmas gifts they are to prepare. Gifts are to be submitted Dec. 5- 6 to the Governor’s Office.

Word circulated during the cabinet meeting that TAOA and the Governor’s Office is looking for a “Santa Claus” for that day to give away the gifts to senior citizens. Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga suggested two candidates, who are cabinet directors, but nothing was confirmed at the time.

Lolo said this will be the 5th year of this important program, to honor senior citizens for their contribution to American Samoa. He noted that cabinet members set the example of honoring and respecting “our senior citizens” who are also “our parents” and the youth will follow, adding that some youth do not show respect to their parents.

Meanwhile, Fiu confirmed the date of the Governor’s annual Christmas visitation starting on Dec. 11th at Hope House. On Dec. 12th, he will visit the LBJ Medical Center patients’ wards, and in the afternoon the Territorial Correctional Facility, which includes the Juvenile Detention Center.

TWO SAMOA TALKS

ASG officials announced that the annual Two-Samoa Talks is confirmed for Nov. 30th (Friday in Samoa) in Apia, with the ASG delegation heading to Apia either late Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning for pre-conference meetings with their Samoa counterparts.

The executive session, led by Lolo and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is set for the afternoon.

Last Friday morning, ASG officials met to finalize American Samoa’s agenda for the meeting, which include economic integration — trade, commerce and investments, immigration and homeland security issues, broadband connectivity opportunities (telecommunication), health issues, climate change, fishery, tourism, and workforce development.

DPS BUILDING RENOVATION

To lighten the financial burden on government for capital projects, Lolo said the Department of Public Works will handle certain construction jobs, specifically those with no budget allocation, but cannot be delayed.

An example is the Department of Public Safety building that was affected by fire last month. Lolo said this is one of the government's oldest buildings and now is the time for a full upgrade.

“We are talking about $3 million to $4 million” for a complete reconstruction of the DPS building and there is no money allocated for this project, he said.

Lolo didn’t specifically state how much money the government will spend on either the police station or the museum extension, also being constructed by DPW.

"These are the [two] projects that need to be done and not put on hold," said the governor.

Lolo stressed the need to move forward with some of the capital improvement projects, and the reasons DPW is tasked with carrying out the work, while the government looks for financial resources.

There is some financial support for museum restoration, already provided under the FY 2018 Special Programs budget, which is overseen by the Governor’s Office.

According to the administration, $500,000 is allocated towards the purpose of renovation and restoration or even construction of a new museum.

An ASG official told Samoa News yesterday that the allocation is not expected to cover the total cost of a museum restoration and that's why there is a need to secure additional funding sources including grants.

It should be noted that both projects involve Historic Site buildings — meaning efforts are made to preserve their historical character.

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