10 May 2012

American Samoa Chief says comments about territory's status disrespectful

12:45 pm on 10 May 2012

A traditional American Samoa leader says remarks made by the governor during the recent Flag Day celebration about changing the political status of the territory have upset a lot of people.

The governor Togiola Tulafono said the territory should review its relationship with the United States and explore options to change its unincorporated and unorganised status with a view to becoming self governing.

Samoa's prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi also spoke about the benefits of being an independent country.

But Pago Pago high chief Pulu Ae Ae Junior says the leaders shouldn't interfere with the will of the people.

"It's a disrespect to our own beliefs that our people already made the decision, they want to stick the way is it with the decision that our forefathers passed. The governor and the prime minister they are trying to work something that they want us to pass or agree with, the majority of people of American Samoa disagree."

Pulu Ae Ae Junior says during a constitutional review in 2010 the desire of the people was to stick with the status quo.