Guest Worker permits for cannery allowed under new declaration
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Exception for entry permits issued under the Guest Worker Permit law for workers for employment at the cannery is allowed under Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga’s new COVID-19 Declaration dated June 16 and effective Thursday, June 17th for 30-days.
The new declaration, released late yesterday morning by the Governor’s Office, points out that American Samoa — which remains COVID-19 free — continues under Code Blue. And residents urged to get vaccinated if they have not.
GUEST WORKER PERMIT
In previous declarations, beginning during the Lolo Administration, issuance of entry permits were suspended.
“All entry permits will continue to be suspended until further notice with the exception of Guest Worker Permit issue for employment at a cannery or call center” pursuant to local law, according to the governor’s new declaration.
StarKist Samoa has faced worker shortages since early this year and during the governor’s meeting last month with cannery officials, Lemanu approved the Guest Worker Program as an option when StarKist needs to recruit more workers from Samoa.
As previously reported by Samoa News, the Guest Worker Permit law, enacted a few years ago, authorized the Attorney General “to issue guest worker permits... for the purpose of entry of persons of Samoan ancestry born in the Independent State of Samoa into American Samoa for purposes of employment by either of the two canneries or call center.” (See Samoa News edition June 3rd for the latest details.)
Cannery workers told Samoa News last week that the one-shift per day will be continued to the end of June before returning to the regular two daily shifts.
OTHER IMPORTANT DECLARATION PROVISIONS
No other major changes were made under the new declaration. A traveler entering the territory, must register with the Health Department website — americansamoapublichealth.com — at least 10 days prior to travel and provide documents required by the Health director. All previous requirements for entry remain in affect.
For scheduled flights in and out of American Samoa, they remain suspended and the Governor and Lt. Gov. may authorize flights based on the needs of the territory.
And passengers of any permitted flight must comply with entry requirements and any additional requirements contained in the governor’s or lieutenant governor’s written authorization.
With flights suspended between Honolulu and Pago Pago, the COVID-19 Task Force continues with its repatriation flights with the current schedule showing two for this month: June 19 and June 24th.
The new declaration, similar to the previous one, no longer provides specific restrictions on public gatherings and hours of operation for businesses. Also no longer in the declaration is the prohibition of bingo games.
The COVID-19 declaration does note that “nothing in this order affects the authority of village councils to enact regulations imposing curfews or restricting public gatherings pursuant to local law A.S.C.A 5.0305.”
An issue that has surfaced recently and has been described in previous declarations as well as the new declaration concerns human remains.
The declaration states that requests for transporting human remains to or from American Samoa must be submitted to the Lt. Gov. and the Health Department.
And DOH will review request prior to final approval or disapproval of the Lieutenant Governor — who is also chair of the COVID-19 Task Force and the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR).
Click on attachment to download latest declaration