FAIPULE CALLS ON GOVERNOR TO USE HIS PARDON AUTHORITY
Manu’a faipule Toeina Autele pointed out there should be a resolution calling on the governor to use his pardon authority for certain inmates who are incarcerated, and this issue was raised during the House regular session yesterday.
Toeina said when he passes the jail he sees the inmates and what comes to his mind “but for the grace of God I could be one of them.” He noted the governor can use his pardon authority to release inmates who are eligible to be released, and this could solve some issues at the Tafuna Correctional Facility, including overcrowding.
During the governor’s visit to the jail last year December, with his key people and the media, it was seen first hand how 47 male inmates are all housed in one small building, with 4-5 inmates in some cells, with a total of 13 cellblocks.
In a briefing given by former Warden Lumana’i Maifea (who’s now assigned to the DPS records office), Maifea said the jail is over-crowded, and there are close to 100 foreigners who were sentenced to depart the territory, yet they have no proper documents to leave.
HOUSE HOLDS HEARING ON ISSUE OF POLICE CARRYING GUNS
The issue of police officers being armed will be discussed next week in a hearing called by Rep Alexander Eli Jennings who chairs the Public Safety Committee. Jennings pointed out this is a serious matter that needs to be addressed and this was brought up during House sessions.
Commissioner of Public Safety, William Bill Haleck is called to testify at the hearing.
The Commissioner told Samoa News recently that in order for our Police Department to be recognized and be qualified as a fully fledged police department there’s a need for the police officers to be armed — because right now our motto is 'To serve and protect'. We can serve but we cannot protect.
Haleck has purchased 24 Glock-17s — which are 9-millimeter handguns — through the Criminal Justice Planning Agency, with the approval of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga for $10,400. He said they went directly to the manufacturer to purchase the guns.
The Commissioner has told Samoa News he knows there’s opposition to arming the officers, yet he believes it will save officers’____ lives, pointing to the shooting death of Police Lt Liusila Brown on July 22, 2010 and the attempted murder of another police officer in front of the temporary court house in Fagatogo.
MEMBERS OF BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION PASSED IN HOUSE
The governor’s nominees for the Board of Higher Education, Dr. Annie J Fuavai and Sapini Siatu’u were approved in the House regular session yesterday, following a confirmation hearing before the Education Committee chaired by Vaetasi Tu’umolimoli Saena Moliga.
A majority of the faipule commended the witnesses for taking up the governor’s request to be a part of this important board.
During the vote, Dr. Fuavai was unanimously endorsed in a vote of 15-0, while Siatu’u was passed with 13 voting yes, one nay and one abstaining.
The doctor during the hearing thanked the Governor for believing in her and Siatu’u and for giving them the chance to sit on the Board of Higher Education.
MALALA AND CHAPMAN NOMINATED FOR PLANNING COMMISSION
Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga in his latest correspondence to the Fono leaders nominated Meleagi Suitonu Chapman for District 1 and Gi Malala for District 4 as members of the Territorial Planning Commission (TPC). According to the letter, Lemanu stated that it’s the function of the TPC is to authorize a general plan program for the territory.
(Samoa News should point out the plan is for overall economic development in American Samoa and is what the Capital Improvement Projects are suppose to support.)
“While the Department of Commerce prepares the general plan, the Commission has an important role in reviewing and approving the general plan prior to recommending it to the governor and legislature, relying on input from the planning districts and the private sector.”
Lemanu stated the TPC nominees each bring to the commission years of involvement and experience in community affairs, and a profound and deep concern for managing the future of the territory.
The Acting Governor requested that the Fono leaders coordinate with the governor’s office to schedule Meleagi’s hearing date, as she will need to make travel arrangements on the MV Sili at least a week in advance. Meleagi resides in Tau, Manua.