Heated exchange of words erupts during ASNOC meeting last week
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A heated war of words erupted between the president of the Sailing Association of American Samoa Inc (SAASI), Genhall Manu'a Chen and top officials from ASNOC, including president Ed Imo and general secretary Ethan Lake last week during a meeting in the ASNOC conference room.
Currently, all local sports federations — along with the American Samoa National Olympic Committee (ASNOC) — are trying to finalize preparations for the upcoming Pacific Games in Samoa later this year in July.
Samoa News understands that ASNOC — through a letter to the SAASI president — had noted that according to the National Olympic Committee (NOC), it's required that ASNOC must recognize all the federations that are affiliated with the International Federation (IF). As a result, ASNOC recognizes the Pago Pago Yacht Club (PPYC) over SAASI, because PPYC is affiliated with IF.
The drama started when Chen asked why ASNOC had kicked SAASI out two months before the Pacific Games, although SAASI has been locally registered since 2008.
“We’ve been a member for many years and we are preparing for the Pacific Games, but now we’re being kicked out…” Chen said in the meeting, which included representatives from several local sports federations.
“If this is the decision by the ASNOC, then give me five minutes to explain my side and then I’m out of here. We’ve represented American Samoa in sailing for the last ten years and now we’re being kicked out without any reason,” he said.
President of the American Samoa Boxing Federation (ASBF) Mapu Jamias advised Chen that SAASI and PPYC need to come together with the ASNOC and resolve the issue. He said American Samoa is a very small place but it’s sad to see that these types of things continue to distract the development of sports in the territory.
Chen interrupted and said, “No, no. I don’t want the 'he said, she said' kind of thing to happen. All I want is a word from ASNOC to confirm that they are no longer acknowledging SAASI. I just want to make sure that their decision was based on one-sided information they received without seeking our side of the story.”
Lake jumped in and told Chen that he’s making a lot of accusations regarding the issue and he needs to speak to verify some of the comments.
However, Chen was not finished. He continued to talk with a loud voice, saying the decision contained in the letter he received was based on one-sided information.
“Why are we being kicked out by ASNOC? This letter contained a 'he said, she said' accusation,” Chen said.
Lake intervened with a raised voice, “We did not put SAASI out.”
Chen replied, “It says right here in the letter.”
Lake fired back, “We are required by the NOC to recognize the federations that are affiliated with the IF and right now, the PPYC is the sailing federation that is affiliated with the IF.”
Lake continued, “We’ve been asking you, several times, to come meet with us but you continue to refuse.”
Chen responded, “You do not understand the whole story behind this issue. Nobody asked me about the whole story; but now, ASNOC has just presented me a copy of their decision, saying we’re out.”
ASNOC president Imo then banged his hand on the table three times and said in a loud voice, “This is not the General Assembly (GA) meeting to discuss this issue, and for your information Chen, that is the door, if you want to walk out, feel free to do so.”
Chen and his assistant walked out of the conference room, and the meeting continued.
(Samoa News will report further on the background of the PPYC and SAASI issue, later this week.)