30 Oct 2014

American Samoa can't afford to become US state

9:01 am on 30 October 2014

An American Samoa senator says the territory doesn't have the economic base to become a state of the United States.

A politician running for a congressional seat in Mississippi, Shawn O'Hara, is proposing granting statehood to the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the CNMI and Puerto Rico, if elected.

But American Samoa senator, Galeai Tuufuli disagrees with the proposal, saying the territory needs to focus on issues such as major economic development, instead of becoming a state of the US.

"We don't have the economic base to support statehood, we're not economically feasible and politically astute enough to even bother to talk about statehood."

Galeai Tuufuli says being a state would also mean the loss of the Fa'asamoa, or the Samoan way, such as land and culture.

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa Photo: AFP / Michael Runkel / Robert Harding Premium