21 Jun 2010

American Samoan politician says free association with US best for territory

11:00 am on 21 June 2010

A former American Samoan congressional candidate, Aumua Amata Coleman, says free association with the United States is a political status not an economic or assistance agreement

Governor Togiola Tulafono wants full autonomy, saying the territory should enact its own laws and be free from the negative impact of laws passed in Washington.

The Governor says 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 territory's future.

Aumua says if the goal is more federal assistance, it is difficult to see how moving to a more distant political status could benefit American Samoa.

"Do we the residents of American Samoa want to give up US citizenship or the closeness with the US for a few federal programmes or a trust fund? American Samoa will always get more federal support as a territory over freely associated states."