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reporters@samoanews.com

AUMOEUALOGO URGES DPS NOT TO RUSH INTO ARMING OFFICERS
 
Former police commissioner Aumoeualogo Te’o J. Fuavai is calling on the Department of Public Safety not to rush into arming police officers until there is solid evidence for such a need.
 
The department has received a shipment of 24 Glock-17 guns and police commissioner William E. Haleck plans to begin training by mid-year 2014 for certain officers.
 
Aumoeualogo says the territory should not rush into arming police officers until there is solid evidence and a need to do so — such as a major crime wave involving the use of guns by people. He says he has not seen this type of evidence.
 
He also says there was a time years ago when officers were armed but it was discontinued because officers were not prepared or ready for it.
 
Aumoeualogo suggested that a specific law proving guidelines for the training and arming of police officers should be presented to the Legislature for approval.
 
He says arming police officers will be something that will be difficult for the public to accept, but it’s nothing new, as it has happened in the past. 
 
(The original Samoan version of this story was published in Saturday’s edition.)
 
NEW INSURANCE COMMISSIONER APPOINTED
 
In a Nov. 25, 2013 memo, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga appointed Tau Tanuvasa as the new Commissioner of Insurance within the Governor’s Office and the appointment went into effect on that date.
 
Tanuvasa is responsible for carrying out all functions pertaining to the Insurance Commissioner, as mandated by law, and the appointment is indefinite, said Lolo.
 
Local statute states that the Insurance Commissioner enforces local laws regulating the business of insurance in American Samoa. (Details of the commissioner’s responsibilities and duties are found under ASCA Title 29)
 
Tanuvasa takes over the post held by Manupo Turituri under the Togiola Administration.
 
PROPOSAL TO BAN TARO FROM SAMOA BEING CONSIDERED
 
The Department of Agriculture is working with the Attorney General’s Office in drafting legislation for submission to the Fono to ban the importation of taro from neighboring Samoa, thereby allowing local farmers to sell their produce to stores and restaurants.
 
This was revealed by Agriculture Department director Lealao Melila Purcell in a Samoa News interview following last week’s two-day Farm Fair, where local farmers showcased their products, giving a clear indication that local farmers can supply taro and ta’amu (or Chinese taro) to local stories and businesses, who are now purchasing these products from outside the territory.
 
Over the years, the question has come up over and over again on whether local farmers can provide for the community, as well as selling to stores, who depend largely on imported taro, said Lealao.
 
“My answer at this time — based on what has been displayed during the fair — is that our local farms can take care of American Samoa’s needs,” he said. “A wide range of produce was showcased, as well as fruits and vegetables — all grown locally. And this is a clear sign that we can depend on our local farmers.”
 
Lealao believes there are more local farmers serving the community than the 100 farmers who registered for the fair. He says some farmers may have been unable to participate due to other pressing issues within their families or communities.
 
There were farmers at the fair interviewed by Samoa News, who said that it’s time for the local government to prohibit the importation of produce such as taro, bananas and ta’amu and this will give local farmers the chance to sell not only to the public but also to local stores and restaurants which use this produce as part of their cooked food.
 
Tafuna farmer Keneti Onosa’i said farmers had raised this issue for several years with the Togiola Administration, but the government's response at the time was that local farmers were not producing enough for the community.
 
But following last week’s farm fair, Onosa’i said he truly believes that they are able to provide for the community, and therefore the government should help them by prohibiting exports — especially from Samoa where the majority of taro originates.
 
Meanwhile, Agriculture plans to launch soon a program that encourages farmers to set up small businesses in order to help boost the territory’s economy. At the same time, a separate program will be put in place to urge residents — as well as stores — to purchase from local farmers.



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