More than $100K handed out this year for Flag Day prizes
The Matasaua fautasi of the Manu’a island group and the young local violinist who played the U.S. Anthem that paid tribute to the 8-year old killed in the Boston bombings, each received monetary prizes, along with several others during Wednesday’s prize giving presentation for the Flag Day 2013 closing ceremonies.
Based on information publicly revealed during the closing ceremony, the government awarded more than $100,000 in cash prizes for the Lolo Administration’s first Flag Day ceremony, which came to a close around 7 p.m. Wednesday evening when the flags — which were flown at half-staff in memory of the victims of the Boston bombings — were lowered.
As part of the closing ceremony, Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga gave the closing address, thanking all those who made the administration’s first Flag Day a success. He also thanked Samoa's Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Samoa's deputy prime minister Fonotoe Afesili Pierre Laufolo for accepting the invitation to the annual Flag Day.
Lemanu noted that while the two Samoas are separated by their political establishment, their linkage and heritage as one, will remain forever. Also acknowledged by Lemanu were other VIPs such as Congressman Faleomavaega Eni and Interior Department official Nikolao Pula.
All special guests were given sua, or gifts, along with cases of wahoo while the sua for the Head of State came with $2,000 and Fonotoe got $1,000. StarKist Samoa publicly donated some 100 cases of wahoo to the government as a gift when they passed in front of the grandstand during the parade.
Lemanu also acknowledged the win of the Vatia fautasi Fuao and congratulated them, along with their captain, Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie, who was in the Grand Standing smiling.
After Lemanu’s remarks came the awarding of prizes.
Matasaua wasn’t able to participate in the fautasi race after its rudder was damaged while being towed from Fagaalu bay to the starting line inside Pago Harbor. There were questions as to whether the Manu'a fautasi team would get any money at all after the hard work and training they went through.
Fautasi committee officials told Samoa News on Wednesday after the race that the final decision rested with the Governor’s Office and that decision was made public during the prize giving, with Samoan Affairs deputy secretary Tuiagamoa Tavai saying that the governor and race committee agreed to provide a $5,000 prize to Matasaua.
He said Matasaua’s crew had trained hard and worked hard for this race and it was unfortunate they weren’t able to take part.
Tuiagamoa then publicly announced that first place, Fuao from Vatia receives $15,000; second place Aeto $13,000; 3rd place Samoana Sharks $11,000; 4th place Nu’uuli Satani $9,000; 5th place Fagaalu Fetu-ole-Afiafi $7,000; and 6th place Fagasa Fealofani Samoa III $6,000.
In total $66,000 was given out in prize money for the fautasi race.
Each of the four groups that performed the Siva and Pese received $12,000 — Malaeloa, Fagasa, Manu’atele; and Swains Island. Gifts, in envelopes, were presented to swing choirs from Tafuna and Leone high schools, who sang during the opening ceremony, as well as a gift was given to James Pomele, the young violinist from the Assembly of God Church in Lepuapua, who played the U.S. national anthem. The amounts in the “envelopes” were not announced, but they were described as “mea alofa” or gifts.
(Tuiagamoa announced during the ceremony that James is 8-years old, but a family member said yesterday that the youngster is age 10.)