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Senator Lualemaga stands firm on his opposition to StarKist cold storage facility site

Sen. Lualemaga Faoa strongly maintains his stand that the government’s plan to lease ASG land between the Port Administration building and the inter island dock for StarKist Samoa cold storage freezer is inappropriate and a health hazard.

Lualemaga, last week, responded to Gov. Togiola Tulafono’s reaction to public criticism about the proposed facility, in which the governor stated on his radio program three weekends ago that this project is to help the local economy and asked the community to give the project time to develop before criticisms were voiced.

The Leasina senator said he fully supports the governor’s efforts to help the local economy, but said he still maintains his strong opposition to the proposed site of the freezer facility and prefers to have it located at the Tri Marine International site in Atu’u.

“Prevention is better than cure,” said Lualemaga, a frequent vocal critic of the Togiola administration, and recalled for Togiola some bad economic development decisions by the current administration that occurred between 2008 and 2010.

For example, Lualemaga said, the governor “allowed” the purchase of ASG’s plane Segaula, at the cost of more than $1 million, a deal brokered by the governor’s acquaintance George Wray.

The governor also allowed the purchase of the Fo’isia vessel “a tourism boat” which cost more than half a million dollars, said Lualemaga, and another example was the purchase of the Sailele tugboat and two barges, with the purchases made at Marisco Ltd., in Honolulu.

Lualemaga said all these purchases used up a “huge amount of ASG money to promote the economy of the territory” as claimed by the governor.

He said serving American Samoa makes no sense if the government purchases vessels that are of no use for the territory’s economic development after spending thousands and thousands of dollars.

“...I ask you governor, is that what you call — promoting the economy of the territory?” said Lualemaga, adding his own answer, “No. It’s a waste of American Samoa Government’s money. I also question the $9 million spent on the fiber optic cable.”

(Samoa News should point out that the Segaula has been used for medical service uplifts from Manu’a as well as carrying passengers, especially for Ofu island. The Sailele is also currently in service and at one point last year was briefly the only ‘working’ tugboat).

The government’s case following a lawsuit by Marisco is currently pending at the federal court in Honolulu, with a status hearing set for next month.

Lualemaga claims that these purchases are a waste of ASG money. “I remind you governor — prevention is better than cure,” he stressed.