16 Jan 2003

Calls to have American Samoan senators elected by popular vote

6:16 pm on 16 January 2003

Public calls for senators in American Samoa to be elected by general vote are increasing as a result of the Senate's continued refusal to recognise Faamausili Pola as a Senator.

Currently Senators are elected by the chiefs of the districts they represent.

The public dissatisfaction focusses on the Senate's refusal to comply to a High court order to reinstate Faamausili Pola as a Senator after the Senate threw him out last year.

The Senate now faces a possible contempt of court charge.

The Senate alleges that Faamausili was not elected by the Chiefs of Manu'a district in accordance to Samoan custom.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Monica Miller, says the Senate is being censured by the public which is calling for a change.

"Well they think that the Senators, if they really are the fathers of the country, they should grow up. The senate has been described as being very childish in this regard and also they're disregarding the ruling of the high court and yet they are lawmakers. There have been a lot of suggestions also that it's time that the senate be popularly elected."

Monica Miller in Pago Pago.