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6th Con-Con opens with Assistant DOI Sec. Carmen Cantor attending

Ava ceremony

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa 6th Constitutional Convention officially opened yesterday with eight proposed amendments to be considered during the gathering that lasts through September 2, 2022.

Traditional leaders, government officials from all three branches, religious leaders and Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, Department of Interior’s Carmen Cantor in attendance at the Gov. H. Lee Auditorium. 

During the official opening of the 6th Constitutional Convention that started yesterday at the Gov. H. Lee Auditorium. There are eight proposed amendments to be considered during the gathering that will last through September 2, 2022. [photo: Julie Pauu]

Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga in his opening remarks said the 6th Constitutional Convention is vital to the territory as this is where decisions will be made for the benefit of the people of American Samoa.

Governor Lemanu Peleti Sialega Mauga during his speech at the opening of the 6th Constitutional Convention yesterday. [photo: Julie Pauu]

He said there are 129 Chiefs and members from the respective Counties to deliberate on the proposed amendments made to the Constitution to govern the territory.

Lemanu said the American Samoa Constitution is far from perfect but the work conducted this week by the leaders will assist in getting the Constitution where it should be for the betterment of our people.

He paid tribute to the forefathers that paved the way for American Samoa.

 “The work you will be doing is vital, and it is evident that our ancestors underwent difficulty in trying to make decisions that will serve the people of American Samoa. It is not an easy task to meet and deliberate on what each respective Country needs but when considering what is best for our people this is what we must do,” said the Governor during his Samoan speech.

Lemanu said the island is slowly adapting to the reality of COVID and slowly relaxing the State of Emergency. It has been reported that millions have died as a result of COVID, while American Samoa had 33 COVID-related deaths.

He mentioned the wars — starting from Word War I  —that Samoans were a part of with only one goal being to protect the Constitution of this territory.

Assistant Secretary Cantor during her special remarks firstly commented on the earthquake swarms around the Manu’a Islands.

Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, Department of Interior Carmen C.Cantor is seen here during her special remarks at the opening of the ConCon. [photo: Julie Pauu]

“I was not just eager to take in the fabled beauty of your homeland and the generous spirit and strong character of American Samoa; I also wanted to set foot on your islands to better understand the sacred responsibility entrusted to the Department of the Interior for implementing the Federal relationship with you our fellow Americans and precisely because of that responsibility I want to say something about the ongoing seismic activity you have been experiencing.

 “I would not want to appear here without assuring you that we have been working closely with Governor Lemanu, the US Geological Survey Scientists and head of the National weather service Eleanor Lutu-McMoore and I am assured they will keep all of us informed of any hazards as we remain watchful of the situation in Manu’a.”

Cantor said having experienced earthquakes in Puerto Rico, she can relate.

“And that the Biden Harris Administration is firmly committed to equity among all-American people and we are working in partnership to address climate change to manage natural resources and work together to build a sustainable future for generations to come.

 “It is truly my privilege to appear before this Constitutional Convention where you're actively exercising your rights of local self government under the Constitution to be here as you begin your first day of deliberations is a humbling honor.”

Adding that “the work of democracy that Americans as no other people understand and undertake so nobly out of civic duty and patriotism it's equally inspirational to see you leading and driving your own destiny through the give-and-take of democratic rights and the mechanisms of local self government while also honoring and actively sustaining your heritage language customs and a way of life.”

Cantor expressed deep appreciation for the leaders’ work at this convention on behalf of their families, communities and the islands.

 “Coming from an island territory myself I know that Constitutional self-government is vital to a jurisdiction's civic life and to the political well being of the people of that jurisdiction.”

Adding that she was born in Puerto Rico where issues such as the convention will remain a regular part of the island community's public life growing up.

Cantor said the Delegates to this convention will deliver on the issues of great importance to the territory, that will determine the future global issues like climate change and sea level rise, renewable energy, sustainable development and healthcare needs are already affecting American Samoa.

 “We share your goals on these issues and I will stand with you to the best of our ability,” said Cantor.

The Con Con will convene today as the issues to be discussed on Monday were postponed for Tuesday.

Dr Dan Aga reading out the Governor’s Executive Proclamation at the opening of the 6th Constitutional Convention yesterday, at the Gov. H. Lee Auditorium. There are eight proposed amendments to be considered during the gathering that will last through September 2, 2022. [photo: Julie Pauu]


1)        The American Samoa Ancestry Amendment will ensure the constitution protects the lands, language, and Samoan way of life for persons of American Samoa ancestry and does not apply generally to other Samoans who are not of American Samoa ancestry.

2)        The House Reapportionment Amendment will reapportion and add representatives to Ituau and Ma’upu (Tualauta) Representative Districts and change the total number of Representatives.

3)        The Accountability Amendment will add an impeachment clause which is a crucial tool for holding government officers accountable for violations of the law and abuse of power.   (Also known as “Accountability Amendment”)

4)        The Chief Justice Amendment will transfer the powers to appoint the Chief Justice from the Secretary of Interior to the American Samoa Government.

5)        The Secretary of Interior Amendment will cease the Secretary’s power to review, overturn or intervene in the appeal of a decision of the High Court of American Samoa.

6)        The Veto Override Amendment will remove the authority of the Secretary of Interior to approve or disapprove a bill passed by the Legislature over the Governor’s veto.

7)        The Constitutional Process Amendment removes the authority of the U.S. Secretary of Interior to approve amendments and introduces a new process whereby amendments can be approved by at least two-thirds of votes cast at the general election.  (Also known as the “People’s Choice”)

8)        The ASG Amendment will remove all references to our local government as the “Government of American Samoa” and insert “American Samoa Government” in its place.