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Dear Editor,

Normally, I do not lend my comments to controversial issues wrought with emotions and fueled by unsubstantiated comments because I do not want to make it about this organization or that, but in light of the fact that individuals are directing their remarks to the JPS organization and me, I feel it necessary to lend my thoughts to the situation.

First of all, the JPS Paradise Football Classic (PFC) is an event that is planned in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, DOE, and JPS America, a year in advance.

The players, in particulate the high school players, are not part of the JPS organization or JPS membership. They are ASHSSA All Star Players from the different high schools, not JPS players. They are sanctioned by the Department of Education and therefore it would be appropriate for the government to assist with their travel.

Furthermore, everyone involved in planning for the PFC including JPS is required to report to the Governor and the Director of Education on the details of the trip prior to the players and coaches departing for the PFC. Meetings are held weekly. Fund raisers are also held.

Last year local organizers raised $58,000 to help with the trip; this year $38,000, of which 50 percent was turned in to the government to assist with players’ expenses.

As for coaches’ stipends, they were given $500 (NOT $1,500) for their two months of training the All Star team and travel. Any additional stipends that were given to the JPS coaches (only) was contributed directly by the JPS Hawaii/Amerika Samoa under a grant they received and monies the organization earned through fund raisers and donations.

For the PFC, JPS is a major contributor to the event. It subsidizes and or secures sponsors to reduce or pay for the costs for accommodations, transportation, meals, entertainment, and fun activities like PCC and Water Park. In addition, JPS Hawaii provides for full medical coverage for all the players by paying a $27,000 insurance premium. While the government does expend a great deal of money on sending the players and coaches to the PFC, JPS does its part as well.  

In defense of the Governor, people fail to understand the reason why the Governor supports the PFC.

It is to give our players exposure and hopefully access to higher education. We have already seen the success in this.

People also fail to understand the risks associated with events such as these. You cannot expect the Governor, on short notice, to arbitrarily make a decision that would put the government at risk. Without the proper approvals from all parties, the liability to the government would be astronomical.

For the PFC, all parents are required to sign not only a parent consent form, but also a liability waiver form. A responsible leader recognizes this and makes tough decisions based on all extenuating circumstances in a given situation.

I am sure this is why the Governor did not approve the last minute request from AYFS. What happened with AYFS is a result of poor planning and a lack of foresight in making available alternatives and contingencies. The organizers, not the Governor, should be held responsible and accountable.

Regarding the comment that the Governor is biased because of me, that is truly a matter of opinion.

I have worked with the Governor for years, and he is not an individual who makes decisions based on biases or likes for one person or another.

His decisions, especially on the youth, are based on what he thinks is in their best interest and is most beneficial, and on the individuals, who can do that for them, and get the job done right.

This is clearly evident by the financial assistance he has allocated to sports development over the years (including AYFS that has also received thousands of dollars through ASG assistance in grants and direct monetary contribution), the college apprenticeship program, Junior Statesman scholarship program and many others.

However, I can honestly say when it concerns the PFC, the direction and final decisions are not made by JPS, but by the Governor and Director of Education. JPS is merely the facilitator and organizer.

People should not be quick to criticize and say things to hurt individuals or organizations.

Keep in mind JPS Amerika Samoa currently has a player membership of 240 (players from grades 5 to 8) not including coaches and parents. Hurtful comments are not only directed to the organizers, but also to all the wonderful people who are part of the JPS Family who want to see their members succeed.

Please do not find fault or blame the Governor or JPS for the failure of others.


Lydia Faleafine-Nomura

President, JPS Amerika Samoa