15 Mar 2018

Call for scaled down Flag Day in American Samoa

11:21 am on 15 March 2018

Two senators in American Samoa have recommended the government scale back next month's Flag Day celebrations because of many families are still in need of financial help after Cyclone Gita.

no caption

Photo: 123rf

Senator Tuiagamoa Tavai said he was concerned the territory was requesting federal assistance yet also preparing to spend money on Flag Day.

He asked the Senate to recommend to Governor Lolo Moliga to forgo a major celebration.

Another senator, Satele Galu Satele Sr, supported the idea saying the Senate could make a recommendation to host a brief Flag Day ceremony, followed by a luncheon.

Satele suggested that money allocated for Flag Day events be given to residents who need help following Gita, which hit the territory last month.

The Senate President, Gaoteote Tofau Palaie, said the Flag Day budget of $US200,000 was approved annually by the Fono and allocated to the Office of Samoan Affairs which oversees the event.

He said the governor couldn't cancel the budget, as it was already set by law.

Gaoteote also said the US had already declared that a major disaster existed in American Samoa, thus providing federal financial assistance to the territory.

Nevertheless, the Senate President said he would still convey the concerns to the governor.

Flag Day is on 17 April and marks 118 years since American Samoa became a US territory.