9 Jun 2010

American Samoa Governor wants full autonomy for territory

9:24 am on 9 June 2010

The American Samoa Governor, Togiola Tulafono, wants full autonomy for the territory.

He says it should enact its own laws and be free from the negative impact of laws passed in Washington.

He says American Samoa's relationship with the United States is not as easy as it was in the past and it's vital that it debate this association for the future.

Togiola says without full autonomy American Samoa will continue to suffer the effects of laws, which are intended for the mainland.

He says in the past the Pacific territories had a special relationship with US leaders but today's climate in Washington is completely different and politicians there are not as sympathetic to the region as in the past.

One of Togiola's biggest worries is that local laws which give special protections, such as the law requiring Samoan blood in order to own land, may eventually be challenged in the US Supreme Court.

The Governor expects his views to be criticised but he says American Samoa needs to shed the cycle of dependence and strive for more self-reliance.