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Eight Samoans deported from US handed over to families after arrival today

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo. [photo: Talamua]

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH 2018: The eight Samoans deported from America landed in Samoa today via a chartered flight. Some were handed over to their families on arrival at the Faleolo Airport while the other families preferred to wait at the Samoa Returnees Charitable Trust (SRCT) office for them.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo told Talamua the approval for the deportees to enter Samoa was granted after their families were contacted, and their criminal, medical, previous convictions and parole conditions were assessed by the Samoan authorities.

“We also had to trace and explain to their families everything and that they have to agree to take them in,” explained Agafili.

He said the deportees families have been very cooperative and have worked with the Ministry while negotiations on their return. All the deportees were born in Samoa and many have been away for a long time and no longer have close relations with their immediate and extended families in Samoa.

“There were some families, despite being related to a deportee, were reluctant to commit to take and accept responsibility for a deportee,” explains Agafili.

“Some of these families were saying that they have lost contact or have never heard from these people for a very long time, and did not feel responsible. But after consultations and meetings, the families finally agreed.”

The deportees have served time on the charges of assault and armed with dangerous weapon.

“These are serious offences in any country’s laws,” said Agafili.

He also confirmed that no American born Samoan is on the list of deportees.

Read more at Talamua