Letter to the Editor: Opposition Leader Questions Capability of American Samoa to Respond at Two Samoa Talks



PETESA – BEACH ROAD MULINU’U – 8 th October 2022


The Two Samoa Talks

It is a good move and an A treble plus for our beloved government to continue our Two Samoa Talks for closer development cooperation between our two Countries.

And to raise the frequencies of the Two Samoa Talks to twice a year after 40 years of these meetings once every two to three years, raises great interest that there must be very urgent matters to discuss to warrant the expenses on both countries and not just another social get together.

We have enough supply of socialising from a historical year-long celebrations and a yet to be handed out $1,000,000 tālā for the first year of payment for the voters’ support at the recent elections at the expense of some real FAST owned initiatives to curb the challenges everyone is facing now due to the recession we are facing.

The first meeting hosted by American Samoa held early this year had no outcome statement.

At the time however, there was much publicity of FAST’s intended fund raising in American Samoa, at the same time of the meeting, in preparation for the next General Elections three years away.

The Social Media reported daily of FAST members waving flags on public roads in Am. Samoa calling on passing drivers to donate.

Questions were also raised whether all these FAST members from Samoa were Government funded.

Governance seems to have been greatly compromised!

Forty years ago, we held the first of the Two Samoa Talks.

The then Governor of American Samoa asked our Prime Minister Tofilau to request the President of the United States to be kind to the PNG Government for seizing an American Fishing boat caught inside PNG’s economic zone.

The US Government then was issuing threats against PNG for the seizure.

Then years later, a request from Samoa to the Am. Samoa Governor to help a Samoan Fisherman whose boat was seized by the Federal authorities in Am. Samoa, was overruled by the Federal.

These events disclosed clearly to us the many challenges facing the Am. Samoa Authorities.

As a Territory of the U.S. there are many limitations imposed on the Am. Samoa Government.

There are also Federal restrictions on immigrations and exports from Samoa.

Only Samoa on the other hand could make binding decisions at these meetings.

Hence the unavoidable one meeting every two to three years whilst officials of two countries are given the go-ahead to work together informally on areas Am. Samoa has the capability to respond to.

Our more professional and experienced public servants should be allowed to guide the discussions.

The most tangible benefits therefore of these two Samoa Talks, come through better understanding and working relationships strengthened on an informal basis without the formality of securing prior clearance from the top, a time-wasting process.

Am. Samoa has helped us a lot in Health issues etc., and we reciprocate with transportations using our small planes and the Shipping Corporation boats to serve the outer islands in their time of need.

Great potentials also exist for our agriculture produce but right now, the priority of the Minister of Agriculture is to fundraise in the USA, NZ and Australia for his own political campaign.

These aside, the HRPP very sincerely and honestly wish the Two Samoa Talks great success.

Am Samoa with its higher GDP and the rich US behind it, will in the future be our Hong Kong like outlet for our exports and a great market for our proactive entrepreneurs to expand their businesses to.

It is the very reason why we must begin to develop our airport, wharf, motels, rental cars, and retail stores at Aleipata today.

For Aleipata will become a great township in Upolu in the future to serve the ever-growing market for Samoan exports in Am. Samoa.

This is the medium to long term vision of the HRPP Caucus and Party.

“Happy White Sunday”

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Leader of HRPP