16 Jun 2010

American Samoa call for autonomy referendum

1:36 pm on 16 June 2010

American Samoa's member of the US congress says a referendum is needed for people in the territory to have their say on possible autonomy.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says although autonomy will be discussed at the upcoming constitutional convention, a referendum would be more indicative of how people feel.

The Governor Togiola Tulafono raised the issue last week, saying American Samoa's relationship with the U.S. isn't as easy as it was in the past and it's vital that it debate this association for the future.

Faleomavaega says it's an issue that's been talked about for some time now.

"This issue is somewhat divisive, but I think the problem here is that we need to bring this issue before the voters and the people in the form of a plebiscite or a referendum. And while we may be able to discuss it and Im sure that there's going to be a lot of expressions of opinions on the upcoming constitutional convention, but ultimately I think we ought to put the question before the people in this November election, it should be on the ballot."

Congressman Faleomavaega says the territory could also get an education campaign underway on what autonomy would mean.