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American Samoa to host 2020 Polynesian Leaders Group Summit Jan. 28

Far right is American Samoa Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG) Summit will be hosted on Jan. 28, 2020 by American Samoa, the new chair of the regional group, and among the issues expected to be discussed is the new Manatua undersea fiber optic cable.

This is according to PLG’s current chair, Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in an interview with Apia-based ATA News, broadcasted yesterday on local radio station KSBS-FM.

When asked for details, the governor’s executive assistant, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira referred Samoa News inquiries to the governor’s chief of staff, Fiu J. Saelua, who is heading the preparations for the PLG Summit to be held in the territory Jan. 28-29, 2020. There was no immediate response from Fiu.

In the ATA News broadcast, Tuilaepa mentioned the PLG meeting, when he was speaking about the importance of the new Manatua undersea fiber optic cable (Manatua cable), which officially landed in Samoa on Monday this week (Sunday in American Samoa) in Moata’a village.

The landing was delayed from the weekend due to bad weather in Samoa, which is currently served by the Tui Samoa cable — owned by the Samoa government — as well as the Samoa American Samoa cable, which is the inter-Samoa spur of the American Samoa Hawaii Cable (ASH-Cable), minority owned by ASG.

Tuilaepa explained that other Polynesian countries and islands — such as Tonga and Tuvalu — are interested in joining this important economic development with Manatua cable, as well as some Melanesian nations, which have inquired about it.

He said Manatua cable is expected to be discussed during the PLG Summit in American Samoa, which is also the new chair of the PLG.

American Samoa was initially to host the 2019 PLG Summit in July this year and the US Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs awarded a $350,000 grant to the Governor’s Office to help host the summit. There was no clear explanation at the time on why the Governor’s Office requested Tuvalu to host the 2019 summit, which was held in August - in Tuvalu - along with the annual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum.

An ASG delegation attended the Tuvalu meeting. And, at that time, American Samoa offered to host the 2020 summit.