10 May 2012

Congressman defends governor's comments about American Samoa's status

7:31 pm on 10 May 2012

American Samoa's US Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has defended the recent comments made by the governor about the territory becoming more autonomous, and says it's time the options were explored.

The governor Togiola Tulafono said the territory should review its relationship with the United States and look at options that could include having a Compact of Free Association agreement.

Pago Pago high chief Pulu Ae Ae Junior says many leaders were upset by the comments as the people made it clear they didn't want change during the constitutional review in 2010.

But Faleomavaega says the governor was right to raise the issue again.

"I'm not satisfied with the current status for the simple reason that this year would be 112 years that we've had this unique political relationship with the United States and to be classified as an unincorporated and unorganised territory that doesn't ring very well in my mind in terms of what should be a better political future for the territory."

Faleomavaega says there is not enough awareness in American Samoa about the options for becoming more independent.