Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs in American Samoa
The 2018 Flag Day Program marking the 118th celebration of the political relationship between American Samoa and the United States of America began early Tuesday morning with Lieutenant Governor Lemanu greeting arriving dignitaries at the Veterans Stadium in Tafuna. Honorable Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and First Lady Cynthia Malala Moliga arrived at the Stadium promptly at 7 a.m. to begin the day's program. Governor Lolo Moliga delivered his special remarks as the opening speaker for the celebrations.
The Keynote Speaker for this year’s Flag Day event was the U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Douglas Domenech.
Entertainment for the celebration was provided by the students of Fa’asao/Marist High School, Fagaitua High School, American Samoa Community College and lastly Saleimoa Village from Samoa.
As well as joining in the festivities to celebrate the 118th anniversary of Flag Day, the schedule of U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Douglas Domenech and Office of Insular Affairs Director for Nikolao Pula began upon their arrival in the Territory on April 12th. This included a
special visit to the Manu’a Islands including stops at Fitiuta and Faleasao Elementary Schools, The American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) Power Plant and Solar Farm, Manu’a High School, Health Dispensary and the Faleasao Wharf. Assistant Secretary Domenech was also on-island for the arrival of the tugboat "Iseula", the dedication of a new school building at Coleman Elementary and other major infrastructure endeavors.
The Flag Day official ceremonies kicked off earlier with a traditional ava ceremony performed at Suigaula Fale Samoa hosted by local traditional leaders with Assistant Secretary Domenech as the special guest of honor. The Assistant Secretary met separately with Governor Lolo and Lieutenant Lemanu and signed over 10.6 million dollars in infrastructure funding to support projects at the wharf, LBJ Hospital and schools in the Territory. The funding also included technical and maintenance assistance for training and youth conservation programs.
ASIIA Domenech also met with Senate President Gaoteote Palaie Tofau, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale, Chief Justice Michael Kruse and other government leaders. Assistant Secretary Domenech was briefed by Department of Homeland Security leadership and FEMA officials on island regarding the status of recovery efforts following Tropical Storm Gita and also visited some of the sites damaged by the storm. His trip to American Samoa concluded with visits to more OIA funded project sites on Tutuila Island and the Star-Kist cannery, a critical economic driver for the Territory. Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Domenech expressed that the opportunity to visit American Samoa, meet with local leadership, tour the beautiful island and experience first-hand the amazing hospitality and generosity of the people, only reinforces his commitment to strengthening relationships and friendships and to support the economic and social growth of the Territory of American Samoa.