Letter to the Editor
No country can be totally self-reliant in the modern World. Even the richest countries like the United States of America and the Peoples Republic of China have to import commodities from other cheaper sources following the law of comparative advantage, that is, each country must focus on what it is best at, to produce economically.
Inter-Island cooperation between the two Samoas helps enormously to share scarce resources for the benefit of our people.
Gone were the days when an island tried to paddle its own canoe and continued to grow.
Now that American Samoa has finally decided to set up its office in Apia, this is a great step forward to cementing the cooperation where possible between our two Governments.
The site selected for the American Samoa office is excellent.
After twenty years, the agreement reached between the two Samoas has now finally come into fruition.
American Samoa would provide a site for our Consular Office at Tafuna, and we on our part would reciprocate with a similar site for the American Samoa Office in Apia.
For over one hundred years, since 1890, American Samoans travelled to Apia without Visas.
But we required visas, for good reasons, to enter American Samoa, which our Immigration issued in Apia on the payment of $5.00.
At our meeting of the two Samoas during Governor Tauese’s Administration, we were informed that American Samoa would set up a new Travel arrangement for two reasons – to raise revenue and secondly, control the influx of criminals from Apia into American Samoa.
This is the background for the setting up of the two Consular Offices to facilitate the issue of visas and promote ease of travel between our two countries.
For 40 years now, we have held the two Samoa Meetings since 1983 and a major constraint on our cooperation efforts has been the Territorial status of American Samoa and the restricted powers granted by the Federal Government of the United States, to the American Samoa Government.
The most positive development to date from the Two Samoa Talks, is the clearance given to CEOs of the Two Governments to freely contact one another for any straight forward practical help without the need to refer to leaders again for their formal approval in the light of the above-mentioned restrictions.
American Samoa would have been a member of the Pacific Leaders Forum along with other new members over 10 years ago if the United States had given its ok to American Samoa’s membership of the FORUM.
With the US recent announcements of setting up its offices in Niue and Cook Islands, it is high time for the US to approve American Samoa’s membership of the FORUM.
To have a longstanding friend in the FORUM, a friend that has the highest number of its citizens per population basis killed in the Service of the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to protect the American citizens, it is high time for the US Government to welcome another voice of support for the US in the FORUM.
Perhaps, the Officials in the Department of the Interior have not provided proper advice to the Federal Government of the United States of the great contribution by the American Samoans to the US global goals.
The US Government along with other Powers in the Pacific have much to learn from the leaders of the Pacific Islands.
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
Leader of HRPP