ELECTION OFFICE ISSUES REMINDERS TO VOTERS
With the Nov. 8 general election, now six days away, chief election officer Uiagalelei Dr. Lealofi Uiagalelei yesterday issued reminders to voters in American Samoa and one of those reminders is for electors who have registered to vote but have not yet pick up their voters ID to do so as soon as possible.
Election officials say there are a lot of voters ID still not picked up and only the registered voter is allowed to pick up the voter’s ID.
Other election reminders are:
For Swains Island voters, a meeting will be held Nov. 5 at 1p.m to select the Swains Delegate to the local House of Representatives for the next two years. The open meeting will be at the Election Office and Uiagalelei has called on all Swains voters to attend “this very special meeting.” The meeting was initially called for last Saturday, Oct. 29, but was changed in the middle of last week based on a request from Swains islanders.
To candidates for the 2016 general election, they are reminded to submit poll watcher lists to Election Office as soon as possible.
And, the last day for walk-in absentees (who will be absent from the territory on election day) and disabled voting will end on close of business on Nov. 7. There will be no voting allowed on Election Day for these two categories of absentee voting.
“And on Election Day, Nov. 8th, please go out and vote,” Uiagalelei reminds all voters.
BANK OF HAWAII SMALL BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM
To promote new businesses and to encourage existing small businesses to expand, and despite its plans to officially closed down local operations, Bank of Hawaii is accepting applications for the Atina‘e Manuia mo Amerika Samoa Small Business Revitalization and Development Grant program.
The Honolulu-based financial institution established the grant program in 2012 to help promote new American Samoa businesses and to encourage existing small businesses to expand.
The award is open to small-business owners with a successful track record operating a business or management experience, and provides five grants of $5,000 each, according to a BoH news release, which also says that deadline to submit application is Nov. 14th.
“We understand that economic development isn’t always easy, so we are investing in grants to help stimulate small business development in American Samoa,” according to BoH information leaflets about the program. “Our ultimate goal is to create economic stability and maintain a superior quality of life for families in American Samoa.”
In the news release BoH says grant awardees are required to successfully complete one of the following before Nov. 17, 2016: American Samoa Small Business Development Center small business training program; and Bank of Hawaii Smart Money small business financial education training.
Grant awardees are also expected to report back to the bank on how the grant has made a difference to their business and the community by Dec. 21.
Application forms are available at BoH branch at the Tafuna Industrial Park or local branch manager at (684) 633-5068.
MARINE SANCTUARY FOUNDATION THANKFUL
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is pleased that a community service payment ordered by a federal court to be paid by a US tuna-fishing vessel will support environmental restoration of corals and other critical marine habitat in waters of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS).
As previously reported by Samoa News, the federal court in Washington D.C. last week Thursday sentenced the owner of Pacific Breeze Fisheries LLC to pay $1.6 million in fine for discharging oil into the waters of American Samoa in 2014 and 2015.
The owner was also ordered to make a community service payment of $400,000 to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for use in the NMSAS. According to the plea agreement, the funds shall support the protection and preservation of natural resources located and adjacent to NMSAS, including the abatement, cleanup and remediation of pollution in the NMSAS; and restoration and injured resources, particularly including coral reefs.
In a news release Monday this week, the Foundation announced receiving the community payment for benefit of NMSAS. Foundation president and CEO, Kris Sarri says NMSAS protects extensive coral reefs, rare marine cultural resources and important fishing grounds.
“Illegal dumping is a serious threat to our oceans’ health and the species that call these waters home,” Sarri is quoted in the news release. “This community service payment will help support the environmental restoration of corals and other critical marine habitat in the waters in and around the Sanctuary.”
The NMSAS covers 13,581 square miles of near shore coral reef and open ocean waters across the Samoan archipelago. The sanctuary protects extensive coral reefs, including some of the oldest and largest Porites coral heads in the world; deep-water reefs; hydrothermal vent communities; and rare marine archaeological resources, the news release says.