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Dear Editor,

From ASG to the Olympics, the “I/Me” factor permeates the territory and rules the roost. Whereas the spirit of the Olympics emphasizes the importance of athletes and celebrates the athletes’ achievements, our Olympic delegation of officials and coaches seem to place the focus on themselves.  It is telling of the sad state of affairs at the ASNOC when an official’s wife was appointed as wrestling coach when she hadn’t a clue about wrestling, while the young man- the most qualified and promising wrestling athlete the territory had to offer- didn’t make the trip to London, to compete in the pinnacle of all international sporting events the world has to offer- the Olympics.

I for one applaud Mr. Mapu Jamias’ efforts in putting American Samoa on the Olympic map of top world amateur boxing; but my question to Mr. Jamias is- where are the athletes, the boxers from American Samoa?

There is something terribly wrong with this picture; yet and sadly, such picture reflects the norm in the territory.  The sad Marisco saga that’s unfolded before our reading eyes in the past few weeks, MYD, Heritage Week, $1.2 million mysteriously transferred to a Vietnam Bank, ASG’s love affair with budget deficits, abuse of government off-island travel and government vehicles, et al, is proof the territory is suffering from a major leadership crisis, where accountability does not exist and the people pay the price. The ASNOC fiasco unfortunately appears the cancerous crisis has spread to other sectors of the territory.

I am however encouraged by the fact that important issues affecting the territory including the aforementioned leadership crisis are being discussed and addressed by most of the teams vying for the governorship, something that has not been done seriously in past elections. Thus there is hope the current leadership crisis afflicting the territory can and will be reversed effectively by the next administration.

Last but not least, I thank all of our young Olympic athletes who competed and gave their best efforts despite the leadership; and encourage the ASNOC leadership to right the ship in proceeding forward. To the gutsy young wrestler who was denied the opportunity to showcase his athletic skills in the Olympics for his country, I will you the courage, peace, and love to forgive the ASNOC leadership and move on to become a shining star in the Olympics of life (if the Rio games are not too late for you). 

God bless our young people- the future of American Samoa.  Yes, there is always hope for American Samoa in our young people!

Esther Fiatoa Wall