23 Apr 2004

American Samoa to re-examine its political status

10:59 pm on 23 April 2004

American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono hopes that the proposed study of the territory's current political status will be competed in time to call a Constitution Convention in 2005.

Togiola said the Political Status Study Commission is charged with examining the territory's political and determining whether the people are happy with it or want change.

Togiola says they are going through a screening process to put together a list of several names to be screened for appointment to the commission.

He says he intends to appoint a representative group to include adequate women and youth participation.

Togiola says the study is needed in order to adequately address any changes to the constitution that will be consistent with the will of the people.

The last time American Samoa residents tackled the issue of is political status was in the 1980s when two separate plebiscites were held.

Both results indicated an overwhelming majority for rejecting any notion to change the current status of American Samoa remaining a US territory.

"However, it seems UN Committee on Decolonization disagrees because it has yet to remove American Samoa's name from the UN list of world colonies despite several clear messages from territorial leaders in past years."