Community News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

SIX CANDIDATES CERTIFIED FOR HOUSE SPECIAL ELECTION

Chief Election Officer, Uiagalelei Dr. Lealofi Uiagalelei, has certified six candidates for next month’s special election for House of Representatives District No. 5, Sua No. 1 — comprising Fagaitua, Amaua, Auto, Avaio, Alega, Aumi and Laulii.

The certification was made after 4:30p.m. on Wednesday, after no challenges were filed against the eligibility of the six candidates, who will be on the ballot for the Oct. 24th special election.

Certified candidates are: Fialupe Felila Fiaui Lutu; Ketesemane Meaole; Laloniu P. Maloa; Tuialofi Faalae Lauatuaa Tunupopo; Tuifagalilo P. Vele; and Uele Fale S. Uele.

The winner of the special election will fill the seat left vacant following the Sept. 1st resignation of Pulele’iite Li’amatua Tufele Jr. who is now concentrating on his role as interim chief executive officer of the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority.

Uiagalelei yesterday reminded qualified electors for District No. 5, Sua No. 1 that voter registration is now open and will be closed at 4:30p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2nd for the special election.

ASG AGENCIES URGED TO SUPPORT MISS AMERICAN SAMOA

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has urged all government agencies to support Miss American Samoa, who is the territory’s ambassador and image abroad.

The governor’s comments were made at last week’s cabinet meeting, where American Samoa Visitors Bureau executive director David Vaeafe announced the newly crowned Miss American Samoa 2017-18 — Matau'aina Gwendolyn To'omalatai.

Vaeafe requested that ASG entities with activities that may require the services of Miss American Samoa contact the Visitors Bureau.

Lolo said he is concerned that agencies are not supporting “this very important activity because the person selected is American Samoa’s ambassador and the territory’s image to the outside.”

He called for full support to be rendered, particularly in the utilization of Miss American Samoa in all government activities.

Miss American Samoa is employed at the Visitors Bureau during her one-year reign.

On the subject of tourism, Vaeafe provided an update on cruise ships calling in to the Port of Pago Pago for the rest of the year. Four cruise ships are scheduled for next month, including two maiden visits to the territory:  the Maasdam on Oct. 10th and the Norwegian Jewel on Oct. 30th. One cruise ship is scheduled for November and two for December.

So far, according to the ASVB website, 17 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Pago Pago in 2018; nine scheduled for 2019; and one so far for 2020. The list of ships will be updated as confirmation is received.

GOVERNOR CONFIRMS 2SAMOA TALKS NEXT MONTH

During last week’s cabinet meeting, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga confirmed that the annual Two Samoa Talks is set for Oct. 12th in Apia, Samoa. Prior to the executive summit, Lolo said meetings would be held between counterparts of the two Samoas.

Lolo and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi will host the executive summit.

Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale and Commerce Department director Keniseli Lafaele are compiling American Samoa’s resolutions to be discussed with Samoa at the summit, according to the governor.

The American Samoa delegation is expected to start departing Pago Pago for Apia on Monday, Oct. 9th, which is a local and national holiday — Columbus Day — as Oct. 12th, the summit date, will be Oct. 11th in American Samoa.

The Summit will cover a broader range of subjects in addition to Economic Integration — Immigration/ Legal Issues, Mutual legal assistance, Joint Disaster Preparedness, Tourism, and Sports.

Also expected to be discussed, as a side issue, is land designated for American Samoa in Vailima, as the governor wants to firm up a plan on how best to utilize the parcel of land, gifted by the Samoa government a few years ago, in exchange for ASG land in Tafuna.

The governor told a cabinet meeting last month that he has been informed by Tuilaepa that a lease agreement has been made with local taxi operators to use and clean the land — next to the DPW compound — at the Industrial Park.

More than a week ago, a representative of the Toa Taxi Association appeared before the ASG-PNRS board to answer questions on the group’s request to renovate an old structure on the land. The representative confirmed that the Samoa government had leased them the land, until such time the Samoa government decides to use it.

AMERICAN SAMOA LEGAL AID APPLICATION FOR $500K IS APPROVED

The American Samoa Legal Aid (ASLA) was recently notified by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women that it has approved ASLA’s application for funding under the Rural, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Program in the amount of $500,000. 

This program is designed to enhance victim safety in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural areas and communities by encouraging collaborative partnerships among criminal justice agencies, victim service providers and community organizations to respond to these crimes. 

In addition, the program supports the provision of services to the victims of such violence, and encourages communities to work in coordination to develop education and prevention strategies directed toward these issues. 

ASLA Executive Director Fainu’ulelei L.P.F. Ala’ilima-Utu thanks the tapu'aiga of the ASLA Board, the assistance of ASLA General Counsel Charles Greenfield, and the support of ASLA’s  project partners: Office of the Attorney General, Department of Human and Social Services, the Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, the American Samoa Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Catholic Services. 

The three-year DOJ grant starts Oct. 1, 2017 and includes some funding assistance for ASLA‘s three NGO partners.

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