Gov again extends membership in territory’s COVID-19 Task Force
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a new written directive, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga has added five more members to the government’s COVID-19 Task Force, increasing the membership to a total of 37, but none of them get monthly stipends as was the case with the previous task force under the Lolo Administration.
Meanwhile, the governor has issued his first proclamation — two of them for a matter of fact — since becoming the territory’s chief executive on Jan. 3rd. Both proclamations were released last Friday by the Governor’s Office.
COVID-19 TASK FORCE
“For additional expertise,” the governor, in a Feb. 24th memorandum, appointed American Samoa Visitors Bureau director Taimalelagi Minnie Tuia; Marine and Wildlife Resources director Taotasi Archie Soliai; Agriculture director, Solialealofiotagaloa Mutini Ifopo; Public Works director Faleosina Voigt; and American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency’s, Lefaga Fa’amao Asalele to the task force.
“I look forward to their input as we work towards keeping our Territory safe,” the governor said.
Task force chairman is Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Va’alele Ale, who is also the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR).
Samoa News notes that the previous task force — who were all from the government sector under the Lolo Administration, had at least three separate working groups, including a vaccination and distribution panel.
Under the Lemanu Administration, these working groups are combined into one task force, which is made up of both public and private sector members.
Also on Feb. 24th, Lemanu issued his first proclamations — two of them — since becoming governor. One proclamation is for American Red Cross Month, for the month of March saying that the American Red Cross of American Samoa is celebrating 98 years of service to the territory.
The proclamation points out — among other things — that in major disasters such as the 2018 Tropical Storm Gita, American Red Crossers from across the Regions were deployed to help American Samoa.
It notes that the local American Red Cross preparedness depends upon a readily available supply of disaster supplies, well-trained and enthusiastic volunteers and financial support of the people of American Samoa.
Furthermore, these resources must be available at a moment’s notice when a personal or family crisis strikes or a natural, or man-made disaster occurs. And for 98 years the American Red Cross of American Samoa has met the immediate needs for people affect by disasters or other misfortune.
“I commend the good work of the American Red Cross in our Territory and strongly encourage all residents to donate, assist and support the efforts of this organization in keeping with our spirit of giving and compassion for fellow mankind,” the governor declared.
His second proclamation — also dated Feb. 24th — proclaims the month of March as Developmental Disability Awareness Month, saying that “developmental disability is a natural part of the human experience and does not diminish the right of individuals to live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to society and participate fully in the economic, political, social, cultural and educational mainstream of our society”.
The proclamation notes that the American Samoa COVID-19 Task Force includes representation from the Disability Network “recognizing people with disabilities are at high risk to be infected or severely ill due to preexisting conditions by the global pandemic”.
Lemanu declared that ASG is committed to providing people with disabilities the opportunity to pursue meaningful and productive lives and thrive in a full inclusive society.
He called on the people of the territory to observe the Developmental Disability Awareness Month with appropriate programs and activities. And the governor encourage residents to seek input from any person or agency with knowledge and expertise in the matter of planning, coordination and advisory.