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Poor response by candidate teams to CoC invitation

The American Samoa Chamber of Commerce chairman says the response to the Chamber’s invitation to the six gubernatorial teams to individually address the Chamber membership for the forthcoming elections has largely been ignored.

To date, only the gubernatorial team of Dr. Salu Hunkin as governor and Iuniasolua Savusa as lieutenant governor, has confirmed they will outline their respective platform to the Chamber of Commerce, says CoC chairman David Robinson, who has set June 21 as the date for the Salu and Savusa team to address the business organization.

On behalf of the Chamber, Robinson had written to each of the six gubernatorial teams inviting them to address the Chamber membership and outline their respective platforms for the forthcoming elections, individually.

Additionally, the teams were advised that a Town Hall style meeting was being planned for the end of September where all the teams’ leaders get together and answer a series of questions about their thoughts on a range of economic and social issues and plans for a new administration should they be elected.

Robinson said he addressed most of the teams individually and “emphasized the need for a new administration to focus strongly on economic development for the territory and develop a 5-year economic plan to strengthen the economy and provide additional jobs through new investment.”

He also “emphasized the need for the new administration to liaise and consult regularly with the private sector through the Chamber as its membership provides a pool of commercial resources that could be of considerable benefit and support to the administration in formulating and promoting new investment and development opportunities.”

Whilst appreciating that the elections are five months away and some teams are still refining their platforms, Robinson said the response to the Chamber Board’s invitation “has largely been ignored to date and he hopes that over the course of the next months the teams will make contact and take advantage of the opportunity to engage in a two way dialogue with the Chamber membership.”

“This dialogue will be of considerable benefit to them all, in ensuring that their economic platforms in particular cover all the most important issues that will hopefully impact in a positive way on the private sector in the future,” Robinson told Samoa News last Friday.

He recalled that one of the gubernatorial teams issued a policy statement in the press recently regarding the development of the local fishing industry. “Most of the points were refuted by a private sector expert with decades of experience in the fishing industry locally and worldwide,” he said.

He noted that last month, LBJ Medical Center chief executive officer Mike Gerstenberger was invited to address the general membership of the Chamber during which he gave “a most articulate and informative overview” of the financial and operational  problems affecting LBJ.

He said only one member of a gubernatorial team attended the meeting and the others missed a golden opportunity to gain information, which would have strengthened their Health policy immeasurably.

“The Chamber urges the teams to engage with the executive Board and its members during the run-up to election day, as it can be a significant benefit from a platform development point of view,” he said.

(At last Friday’s public hearing on the fee hikes, where other issues pertaining to the hospital were raised, two candidates for lieutenant governor were present: Le’i of the Afoa & Le’i team and Sandra of the Save & Sandra team.)