22 Feb 2006

American Samoan politicians concerned about federal court bill

11:12 am on 22 February 2006

American Samoa's House of Representatives does not support a bill introduced in Congress by congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin which would extend federal court jurisdiction to the territory.

The Speaker of the House, Matagi Ray McMoore says House members fear the bill will subject the land tenure system to federal court review .

Matagi said even though the congressman's bill states that the proposed federal court will have limited jurisdiction there is no guarantee that the court's authority will not extend to land issues.

Matagi also said that Faleomavaega has not waited for directions from the people and leaders of the territory before introducing his bill.

Matagi said it's true that the congressman had informed the Fono about his intention however there have not been any further discussions on the issue.

He said the House wants to proceed with caution on the federal court proposal and its position will be made known to the congressman.