“FONO MEMBERS AND LACK OF FORESIGHT”
I recall Governor A.P. Lutali once went to Washington, D.C. to present our budget and to ask for additional monies. Several Fono members wanted to go with him to justify the needs of American Samoa, in spite Governor Lutali's reluctance to have such a large entourage. Governor Lutali was given approval of his request, but Washington wanted to know what the rest of the entourage was doing there, expending government monies when all they needed was their leader.
I also remember legislation from our Fono to put a tunnel from Pago to Fagasa village to make travel easier. Imagine if the bill had passed and there was a tunnel at sea level during the tsunami?
I bring up these two recollections because each situation involved Fono members and lack of foresight.
The veto override power held by the Secretary of Interior is not broken, and there is nothing to fix. Turn your attention to what people actually need.
Every year, the budget projections of local revenues are not met. It needs fixing so workers do not have to live with reduced work hours. Spouse abuse in our villages, it needs fixing.
Leave well enough alone and spend out 60 days a year looking at things that prevent us from becoming a safe and great Territory.
Don't ask us whether the veto override belongs to the Fono, we told you that already.
Ask us if we should set up new criteria for eligibility of Senators and hold hearings to find out what the people actually want from you as a Legislature.
The Retirement Fund needs to be protected and the voice of the people should be heard.
It's great that you passed the important bill to beautify American Samoa the ad came out clear in English, but since they'll collect revenue from all violators — it needs for everyone young and old to understand the bill well in the Samoan language also — so there is no excuse. Run the bill in Samoan too.
Clean villages, clean town, a clean community brings tourists to build the economy. Besides, clean air and a clean environment means good health for everyone.
I love American Samoa, only 76 square miles. We need to observe, study and think along with our people of how to protect our government, our limited land resources and our small population.
The Fono has a lot of work it can become involved in but it requires a commitment to study, talk to your constituents from every walk of life, and observe how people are living.
Lastly, work close with our Congresswoman Amata who is representing us well.
Sincerely and Thank You,
Joan Galea'i Holland