Governor Lolo holds Cabinet Meeting

November 16, 2016

The first post-election ASG Cabinet Meeting was held on November 16th at the Department of Agriculture conference room in Tafuna. The meeting was well attended by traditional leaders, representatives of local and federal government, cabinet heads and support staff.  The media was also represented along with KVZK-TV present to film the meeting. Opening remarks by Chief of Staff Fiu Saelua were followed by an invocation and prayer by Parks and Recreation Director Reverend Pili Gaoteote.  Chief of Staff Fiu next introduced newly re-elected Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga. Governor Lolo acknowledged and greeted those gathered and expressed appreciation on behalf of himself and Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.

Governor Lolo next spoke about the recent successful election. He said “the people have spoken and the victory is for the people. Now it is time for everyone to come together and to work together on behalf of the country”.  He congratulated the Cabinet on their accomplishments and the fruits of their labors.  The Governor continued “although there are many challenges ahead, stay positive and use the gifts and talents that God has provided.”  The Governor’s advice to the cabinet was to “be good leaders of the people and treat people well “.

Speaking next about the economy, the Governor acknowledged challenges that lie ahead; the US Federal Government transitioning to a new President and Administration, recent announcements by Tri-Marine to cease operations thus displacing local workers, as well as Blue Sky’s uncertain future. Governor Lolo urged the Cabinet to work together to find ways to help accommodate displaced workers and develop new opportunities.  “We have to find ways to help our people who will be impacted by the change.” The Governor referred to recent discussions with Congresswoman Aumua Amata where she affirmed her commitment to assist in the issue.  He also stressed the ever growing importance of investing in our own local agencies such as ASTCA.

Governor Lolo urged the Cabinet members to work hard to push on and to do what is necessary to move forward.  “Cost containment measures need to continue to be implemented to make the best of what we currently have.” The Governor noted that the ASG financial reports have been positive for the last four years, with three years of operating in the black.  He gave credit to the Cabinet for their efforts in achieving this positive report.  He added that the Federal Government will discern this as well.

Governor Lolo next spoke about legal statute requiring all cabinet members to resign from their jobs before the end of the current Administration. The Governor indicated that all positions would be open to qualified applicants.  He also asked the respective boards to work to ensure a smooth transition into the next Administration.

Next to speak were leaders of the respective government authorities.  Reports were provided by ASPA, Medical Services Authority, American Samoa Community College, Development Bank, ASTCA and the Shipyard Authority.  Discussed were recently completed projects such as ASPA CEO Utu Abe Malae’s description of the 100% renewable energy solar panel project in Ta’u, Manu’a . 

CEO Taufete’e John Faumuina of the AS Medical Authority reported on the nearly completed 2-story building that will house new Surgical/Operating facilities, Labor and Delivery rooms, etc. on the first floor and Administrative/IT Offices on the 2nd floor.  He also talked about plans to establish Dialysis Unit in Manu’a.

On behalf of ASCC, Vice President Rosevonne Pato reported that the College Board will soon select a new President to replace recently retired President Dr. Seth Galea’i.  She added that exterior construction of the new multi-purpose building has been completed and final interior and landscaping work, including renovation of the adjacent Fale Samoa is underway.  The project is expected to be completed in late February 2017. 

Next was President Ruth Matagi of the Development Bank of American Samoa (DBAS) who reported that the Bank continues to provide loans and other functions.  Cost containment measures continue to be implemented and the budget report is being prepared for DBAS Board approval.

Appearing on behalf of ASTCA CEO Alex Sene was Mr. Malcolm Sword who reported that internet networks are being optimized. At the Executive Office Building, ASTCA is in the process of replacing old systems with new fiber-optic systems which will improve connectivity.

For the Shipyard Authority, Moefaauo Bill Emmsley reported that the MV Sili has been repaired and is undergoing sea trials, which if successful will allow a trip to Manu’a very soon. Work is proceeding to improve and repair the ASG tugboats, Tatoso and Sa’ilele. Groundbreaking ceremonies were recently held for the construction of a new 2 story building which will feature new machine shops, increasing efficiency and improving safety for the workers.

Deputy Director of Port Administration Chris King reported that the newly built Manu’atele Boat is scheduled to leave the US Northwest on November 23rd and has a projected arrival date of December 20th - 23rd in American Samoa. Governor Lolo stressed that the timely arrival of the Manu’atele is important so as to coincide with the completion and dedication of many major projects in Manu’a.

During the reports, there were references to the many inherent difficulties operating here in the Territory, but all agreed the spirit of collaboration between ASG agencies and within the Administration is appreciated and is what it is needed to best serve the needs of the people of American Samoa.

After the respective authorities’ reports, Chief Election Officer Dr. Uiagalelei Lealofi thanked the Administration and traditional leaders for their preparation for and implementation of the election. He specifically thanked DPS Commisioner Save Liuato and KVZK-TV Director Fagafaga Langkilde for their agencies key support. Chief Uiagalelei reported that there were no challenges and he is prepared to declare the election results official.

Last to address the gathering was Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Paramount Chief Mauga T. Asuega who delivered a cheerful speech emphasizing working together for a better American Samoa.  Governor Lolo thanked those assembled and announced the next Cabinet Meeting on Friday December 2nd.