25 Sep 2018

American Samoa's governor in Hawaii for PBDC meeting

5:44 pm on 25 September 2018

American Samoa's governor has made a move to return to the fold of a regional body which looks at development in the US Pacific territories.

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Lolo Matalasi Moliga Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

Lolo Matalasi Moliga is in Honolulu to attend a meeting of the Pacific Basin Development Council for the first time.

The council was established in the 1980s by the governors of the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, Guam and Hawai'i.

However Iulogologo Joseph Pereira from the Governor's Office said Lolo had previously lost confidence in the old leadership of the council and his presence this week demonstrated a renewed commitment to the organisation.

The new enthusiasm for the body comes after former US Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, Esther Kia'aina, became the council's executive director.

During her tenure as Assistant Secretary, she visited American Samoa, was bestowed the Samoan title, Lupesinasamoa and played a pivotal part in approving grant funding to address development projects in the region.

Iulogologo says that American Samoa's economic challenges, caused by federal policy constraints, could be better addressed collectively rather than on its own.