Pa’u rejected by Senate
The Senate yesterday rejected the nomination of Pa’u Fuiavailiili Roy Taito Ausage Sr. as director of the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA), where the nominee has been the deputy director since 2007.
Because of the Senate’s 5-11 vote, Pa’u is therefore officially rejected by the Fono although his nomination was endorsed by the House earlier this week. Both Senate and House need to approve an appointee in order for that individual to get full Fono confirmation.
Pa’u is the first director-nominee of the Lolo Administration to be rejected by the Fono. It’s now up to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga to re-submit Pa’u’s name — or that of a new nominee— during the next legislative session, which is the 2nd Regular Session in July.
All confirmation votes in both the Senate and House are by secret ballot and therefore it’s unknown as to who voted for or against the nominee.
Prior to the Senate vote, Pa’u appeared before the Senate Government Operations Committee for his confirmation hearing where there was a call from senators for the department to address the increase of illegal actions by males against girls and women, as well as the issue of teen pregnancy.
Sen. Mauga T. Asuega says there is a serious issue facing the territory regarding illegal actions by males — even a grandfather — being committed against girls and women. He said these are serious issues, including reports of teen pregnancy.
Pa’u said the department is involved in a local coalition dealing with the prevention of teen pregnancy and he is a member of that coalition. He also said that the department has separate programs to help teen mothers.
He further pointed out that the department works closely with the Department of Education on students housed at the Juvenile Detention Center.
Mauga noted that these types of problems affecting girls and women are very sad and disturbing, adding that something has to be done to address these social problems. He said that these issues have been reported by the news media, whose reports are circulated around the world via the internet.
Another senator added that it’s very embarrassing to American Samoa when these cases surface in the territory and also said that these cases are reported almost weekly in the news media.
The same senator also called for the nominee — if fully confirmed by the Fono— to continue at least one of the Samoan language television programs, “Fanau a oe ma ‘au”, which focuses on children, and is hosted by former department director Leiataua Leuga Turner. (This program was among the programs of the DYWA).
Pa’u was asked about the role and programs of this ASG department, which includes the sewing classes program that graduated more than 400 local residents since the classes were first implemented five years ago. Another program focuses on sports development for youth.
Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono says he is well aware of Pa’u’s experience and qualifications going back to the years of the Lutali Administration. He said the nominee has served in this department for a long time and has the work experience as well as educational background to be a department leader.
Besides being deputy director, Pa’u had also served as assistant director for the same department between 1997 and 2001 — which is when it was first established as an ASG department. Prior to the establishment of DYWA, Pa’u was the executive director of the American Samoa Office of Children and Youth, during the Lutali Administration.
In his nomination letter, the governor says that aside from Pa’u’s many years of experience in developing and implementing youth and women’s programs in the territory, the nominee “has extensive academic credentials.”