27 Nov 2006

Call for complete autonomy for American Samoa

11:34 am on 27 November 2006

.The chairman of the commission that's reviewing future political options for American Samoa, wants the territory to enjoy complete autonomy.

Tufele Liamatua the territory's first elected Lieutenant Governor says that is not the case at present and three events back this up.

When Governor Togiola applied directly to the Pacific Forum for American Samoa to be an associate member, the US State Department wanted the application withdrawn because it did not go through the federal agency.

When Governor Togiola signed a lease between the ruling administration and McDonalds American Samoa to allow the company to build a restaurant at Utulei Beach, the National Park Service said certain conditions must be met first.

The third event that Tufele raised is that the United Nations classifies American Samoa as a non self governing territory.

Tufele says even though the territory now elects its governor, the Secretary of the Interior can remove him or her at any time.

He says these are some of weaknesses which the Future Political Status Study Commission feels should be addressed.

The commission is wrapping up community hearings and hopes to meet the December 31 deadline to submit a report to the Governor and Legislature.