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On the Campaign Trail 2012

Salu & Savusa: “Now is the time for women to arise”

by Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu

“We are Women of Now, time for the women to arise”.

This was the statement rendered by Mata’afa Naomi Fiame, Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Electoral Commission and Film Censorship, who gave the keynote address for Team Salu & Savusa’s women’s prayer breakfast over the weekend.

The prayer breakfast “women in leadership” held at Maliu Mai Resort, was packed with women, along with a number of supportive men.

Fiame, who has been in politics since 1985, told the audience that she comes from a family of politicians and being one of only two women in Parliament, it is not an easy task.

She noted that in 2006 after the general election, six women were elected; however one was dropped after she lost a case in court pertaining to the election, leaving five.

“In the 2011 election, the number of women dropped down to two,” she said.

The Minister noted that Samoan women are fortunate to have the opportunity to be chiefs within families and respective villages, unlike some countries, where women cannot even voice an opinion on issues.

The minister also touched base on the proposed measure in Parliament where the Samoa government is amending the law to create five seats reserved for women, which will guarantee them parliamentary representation of 10 percent. She added that there are 49 parliamentary seats.

Fiame said that women can raise families, hold down a full-time job at the same time and also have political ambitions; noting that Samoa in this area can be the role model for other neighboring Pacific islands in creating some form of representative balance for both men and women in Parliament.

Fiame entered politics in 1985, from Lotofaga Samoa and she’s a member of the Human Rights Protection Party. She has been a Cabinet Minister since 1991 and has represented Samoa and the Pacific Islands on the Executive Board of UNESCO and the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth of learning. Mata’afa was the Chair and Pro-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific, Chair of the Eminent Person’s Advisory Panel (Pacific Leadership Program), Australia, she’s also a member of the Pacific Representative of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Committee.

Pastor Amy Wendt Tavai also gave special remarks at the prayer breakfast. “Now is the time for women to arise and go beyond the cave” said the pastor. “I want to encourage you to be a NOW WOMAN.”

She noted that women may be soft on the outside, but they are strong and mighty in spirit. “Women are God’s secret weapons” she stated.

She said that women are in a NOW season on earth and what they do now will dramatically affect them in the future. She said it is a new season for women and the Lord is beginning to call forth the NOW women for his purposes.

“Now women, initiate new things, Now women, announce new things, Now women know that, men should position themselves to receive now women, Now women know the time for change, Now women must be properly aligned and positioned.”

Tavai said today God’s mission field is filled with women who are leading in churches, pioneering works in remote tribes and villages. “Women are teaching, training and raising up native pastors so God’s work can grow.”

“There are also women serving God in the suburbs and the inner cities…Today women are also serving in the government, and many other areas of service …but still so many are in hiding… Be a NOW woman and arise,” said Amy.

The gubernatorial candidates rendered special thanks acknowledging the roles that women and youth must play for change to happen in government.

Utuali’i Iuniasolua Savusa said that he and his wife Mareta prayed about running in the Gubernatorial race for about a month, and he’s honored to be Dr. Salu’s running mate. Utuali’i stated that women can do wonders and make a difference.

Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau acknowledged Samoan women in leadership and thanked Fiame Naomi Mataafa. She extended the acknowledgments to former representatives, Fiasili Haleck and Liufau Fualaau and current sitting female Senators Fonoti Tafa’ifa, Asuega Faamamata Lauvai, and Tiumalu Sia Scanlan.

She also acknowledged Tisa Fa’amul,i who ran for office one year. “Thank  you Tisa for being courageous, to be the first woman to run for the Office of Governor of American Samoa.”

Dr. Hunkin-Finau added that the census report for American Samoa in the year 2000 has it that 48% of local residents are women, and if the women and the youth come together as one, there will be a massive change in the new office of government to come.

The prayer breakfast consisted of entertainment and hymns by the Latter Day Saints Leone 2nd Ward- Young Women.

Afoa & Le’i confirm meeting with Chamber of Commerce

In a letter dated June 8, 2012, candidates Afoa and Le’i accepted the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce’s invitation to share their views on economic development in American Samoa. Candidates Afoa and Le’i have requested the Chamber to confirm a date in mid-August that is convenient for the membership to meet.

Candidate Afoa, a long-time member of the Chamber of Commerce shared, “we appreciate the invitation by the Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Chamber, I know first-hand that it is important for the members to hear and understand the positions of the gubernatorial candidates and their respective ideas on developing our local economy.”

Candidate Le’i Thompson added that, “Since we have announced our candidacy, we have stated that economic development is key, and this will be a priority for us, and thus we have published our goals in this area. An essential ingredient to planning and implementing our economic strategies starts with maintaining close working relationships with the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Advisory Council.”

In reference to the timing of this meeting, Gubernatorial Candidate Afoa stated, “we are meeting business owners now individually to share with them our plans and mostly to solicit their ideas and suggestions on how we can improve our economy. When our businesses are successful, there are jobs available for our people, more income to take care of families and support our government. We believe that our best source of information now are our local business owners. It’s important to discuss what is working for them, what is not and how we can improve. Our platform outlines a commitment to a partnership between the private sector and government to develop American Samoa’s economy.”

Source: Afoa-Le’I campaign media release