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Villagers stranded; Another chapter in 'blame game'

Gov. Togiola Tulafono has lashed out to the Samoa government owned Samoa Shipping Service for leaving behind in Pago Pago about 40 members of a village group from Samoa that performed in last week’s Flag Day celebration.

The governor has also ordered his legal team to carried out a complete probe as to whether Samoa Shipping Service and its Pago Pago agent, Polynesian Shipping, violated any territorial laws by not taking last Friday morning all members of the Lano village group, who were brought into the territory on the MV Lady Naomi, owned by Samoa Shipping.

Togiola was also not pleased with a Lano village chief, who appears to be blaming American Samoa for the reason  some members of the group didn’t not make it on the MV Lady Naomi and ended up sleeping on concrete benches at the inter island dock. (See yesterday’s Samoa News edition for more details)

Togiola says the village should take up their complaint with Samoa Shipping, who left them behind, and cautioned the Lano chief to refrain from making public comments that are not true.

Togiola also says that the Samoa Shipping decided to leave behind members of the Lano group without alerting the Office of Samoan Affairs. He said the local agent of the MV Naomi went home without any notice given to the government.

He said the Samoa government gave the shipping company money to pay fares for these individuals, who should not be treated this way by leaving them stranded in Pago Pago. He said the shipping service should accommodate these passengers at hotels.

More details in tomorrow’s Samoa News edition.