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Togiola shocked to share leased buildings with DYWA

While the territory is a democratic form of government, its treatment of the American Samoa Rugby Union (ASRU) is a form of Communism, says Togiola T.A. Tulafono, chairman of the ASRU, whose successful ‘Talavalu’ rugby team will be heading to the international arena in Hong Kong next year.


Togiola’s reaction and comments followed a move by the administration to use the old VA club house in Tafuna (next to the Office of Motor Vehicles compound) as a center for the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA).


The former governor had told Samoa News a couple of months ago that ASRU had signed last November a lease with ASG to use this property for developing the rugby union in the territory. Togiola even announced the lease agreement for this ASG property on his radio program last December— the agreement is for nine-years, 11-months and 30-days.


The land lease included the use of the building structures on the property and the ASRU had been working to repair the structures.


However, Togiola told Samoa News on Tuesday this week that rugby union members were surprised and shocked when they went to the facility for Monday’s meeting to find government workers performing work to repair portions of one of the buildings.


He also learned the repair work was being done in order to house a center for the DYWA.


Togiola said he is very saddened with Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga for forcing the use of the building when there is an existing lease between ASRU and the government. He says it’s disappointing as well that the governor did not ask for any input from the rugby union.


DYWA acting director Pa’u Fuiavailiili Roy Taito Ausage confirmed to Samoa News that it was workers with his department who were at the site, which will be used as a center for training and other educational programs for the territory’s women and youth.


Togiola said the rugby union is not against or opposed to the use of the leased land and buildings by the government, but should have first made official contact with ASRU instead of just forcing their way on to the property.


Togiola said this is a very easy issue to deal with, adding that this is a democratic government. However, he said the actions used by the government were more like communism.


Pa’u told Samoa News on Wednesday that his department had already held discussions with Togiola regarding this matter and DYWA is prepared to present the ASRU chairman with a proposal for use of one of the two buildings on the property.


Pa’u explained to Samoa News that the goal is for his department to use this site as a training center, due to its easily accessible location. It can also be utilized at night for training and other educational purposes, he said.


A month ago, Togiola also found the same Department's crew working on the same facility and at that time, he told the crew that this property has been leased by the rugby union, who had already started repairs to the buildings on the property.


(Original Samoan language version of this story was published in Friday’s edition of Samoa News)