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Dear Editor,

I read with great interest the recent article on the finances of the Fono. I was appalled and disgusted by the time I had finished.

Is there no shame at the extent to which the people of Am. Samoa are being ripped off?  Chauffers, cooks, and other ghost employees, nameless assistants which just don't exist, per diems far beyond a reasonable amount, and on and on it goes. 

And how often do our esteemed Faipule meet annually? A few short weeks a year; and this at a time when our island is facing a crisis financially. How do we explain to all those government employees who had their hours cut to lessen the burden on an already bloated and top heavy government that they alone had to make a sacrifice so that the precarious house of cards' doesn't collapse?? 

And then of course the most important question of all... will any thing change? NO, of course not.

One question that continues to plague me is simply why is it that only “titled” individuals are Fono members? An individual can be functionally illiterate and yet still hold office?

And why is there no transparency and accountability with regard to how monies are being spent for all the office supplies, the per diems, the postage, telephone and communication costs... and other absurd items mentioned in the article?

I am so sick of hearing how things are being done for the good of the people of Am. Samoa. How on earth can this situation continue to exist? Well the answer is really very simple — GREED!!!

And I speak with first hand knowledge of just that. Several years ago I lived with a family, the father of which was a retired govt. employee, collecting both his retirement and Social Security, and yet each and every morning would drive to Utulei to "punch in and out" so as to receive the pay check for his 'ghost job'.

This was by no means an isolated situation, and we all know here that it's just the way things work on our island. But our culture precludes us simple folk from questioning the so-called wisdom of our esteemed leaders.

"Thou shall not steal" is one of the Ten Commandments, and I am sure most if not all our faipule attend their local church each and every Sunday. There may not be accountability and repercussions for all the theft, which occurs in this life... but there will be a Judgment Day coming, and may the Lord have mercy on their souls!

John Engle

(Editor’s Note: You don’t have to be “titled” to run for the House; you do, in order to be a senator, as it is the nature of how a senator is chosen to sit in the Senate, according to the law. As to how long our Legislature is in session – it’s for two sessions, each for 45 days. ra)