30 Apr 2020

American Samoa official upset at Samoa PM comments

9:47 am on 30 April 2020

A Representative in American Samoa's fono has rebuked Samoa's prime minister for calling the territory the source of drugs and illegal weapons.

Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, speaking on Radio 2AP, blamed returned American Samoan servicemen for illegal weapons and Iraqi currency discovered in a police raid in Faleatiu.

American Samoa's faipule, Vailoata Amituana'i, expressed disappointment at Tuila'epa's statements.

He told Monday's fono session that such strong accusations should not be made without evidence and questioned the honesty of officers carrying out the raid.

Vailoata reminded the House of senior Samoan officers having illegally run guns from the US territory on a police patrol boat.

The faipule said the Prime Minister should not point fingers at American Samoa and make baseless accusations but look at his own people.

He said every time the Samoan leader seeks help from American Samoa, the territory responds favourably, as with the measles epidemic.

"American Samoa supplied oxygen for Samoa and relaxed all entry requirements for their patrol vessel to come and go with supplies during the epidemic which killed 83 people, mostly children."

The Lawmaker said the PM's statements should receive a strong response from local leaders because other countries are watching and they may think what he's saying about American Samoa is true.

He said he will leave it to the House Speaker to discuss a response with the Senate President and Governor.