AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNMENT
Inauguration Ceremony for Governor Lolo And Lieutenant Governor Lemanu
Malaeoletalu shone brightly and colorfully with the Pavilion decorated in red, white and blue stars and stripes memorializing the commemoration of the Inauguration Ceremony for Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga signaling the beginning of their second four year term as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa.
The malae was lined with colorful tents filled by the clergy, senior citizens, students, church choirs, all three branches of government and residents of American Samoa on hand to witness this historical event.
They were welcomed by live music with intermittent choral numbers by the Kanana Fou High School Choir. The Police officers from the Department of Public Safety brightly dressed in their vibrant traditional uniforms marched through the gathering to the front of the Pavilion to welcome dignitaries to await the official raising of flags. Scattered showers blessed the day until at 11:30, as if by divine design the sunshine broke through the clouds.
The steady flow of arriving guests continued to fill the Pavilion. Notable among the arriving dignitaries was Head of State of Samoa Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Masiofo Filifilia and Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi. Another special guest on the dais was Tokelau Minister of Finance Kuka Siaosi.
Promptly at 11:55am sirens from the motorcycle escort signaled the arrival of The Honorable Governor Lolo Moliga and First Lady Cynthia Moliga. The Inaugural Ceremony then began with opening remarks by Master of Ceremonies Deputy Secretary of Samoan Affairs HTC Malemo L. Tausaga who welcomed all those present.
The raising of the flags of the United States and American Samoa respectively accompanied by national anthems sung by the Kanana Fou High School Choir followed. The opening prayer was performed by Reverand Elder Mamoe. Next, Chief Election Officer Uiagalelei Lealofi Uiagalelei after a short speech presented the Certificate of Office affirming the election results and officially confirming the re-election of Govermor Lolo and Lt. Governor Lemanu to a second four year term.
The official swearing-in and the administration of the oath of office by Chief Justice Michael Kruse was next. First to take the oath of office was Governor Lolo Matalsi Moliga accompanied by the First Lady Cynthia Moliga and High Chief Moliga to represent his family. Next to take the oath of office was Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Mauga. He was accompanied by his children, his Mother Mrs. Iva Mauga who held the Bible for the oath, and his father-in-law and mother-in-law.
Following the official swearing-in of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor clergymen representing different denominations in American Samoa provided spiritual blessing. Those present included Bishop Peter Brown of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago, Reverend Elder Mamoe Eveni of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa (CCCAS), Sea Lokame Malaesilia of the Methodist Church of American Samoa Synod, Reverend Elder Siaosi Mageo of the Assembly of God Church in American Samoa, Reverend Elder Fa’amao Asalele the Congregational Church of Jesus in Samoa (CCJS), Elder Otto V. Haleck of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Pastor Uili Solofa of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Reverend Fuaifale Faoliu and Reverand Solomona Faiva of the Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa in Sailele.
The servants of God surrounded the Governor and Lt. Governor with a prayer offered by Bishop Peter Brown who talked about unity and faith in God as guidance over the next four years. This was followed by congratulations and handshakes all around. Following another hymn by the Iliili Catholic Church Choir a spiritual message was delivered by Reverend Elder Mamoe Eveni with advice to the leaders to stand tall and to serve not to be served and to use that as your guidance at all times. After a song by the Manumalo Baptist Choir, HTC Malemo introduced the Honorable Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga for his Inaugural Address.
Governor Lolo first acknowledged the guests and talked about the honor to serve the people of American Samoa another four years and proclaimed that all glory to be given to God. The Governor listed five priorities as a focus for the coming four years.
First, financial capacity to manage our resources and to pursue innovative ideas such as the renewable energy eg. Solar Panel project recently completed in Ta’u Manu’a, investment in the Territorial Bank of American Samoa to provide financial options to the public and other projects to grow the local economy.
Secondly, to resolve American Samoa’s political status and define our relationship with the United States which has begun with the establishment of the Office of Political Status and Constitutional Review.
Third, to harmonize and align Samoan culture and customs so as to be embraced by the youth and coming generations and to instill a sense of importance and pride in our traditions.
Fourth, given our insufficient natural resources and the remoteness American Samoa from the mainstream world, investment and development or our greatest resource, our youth, and fifth, our Educational system must be reformed in order to establish a standard whereby our children can succeed in the world.
Governor Lolo wrapped up his inaugural address by acknowledging and thanking the special dignitaries, especially the Head of State and the Prime Minister of Samoa for their participation and the cooperation of the two countries so as to move together into the future. Referring to the highly anticipated arrival of the Manu’atele the next day, Governor Lolo offered free rides for the Prime Minister and the Head of State which drew some enjoyment from the crowd.
Next to be introduced was Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga for his remarks which he delivered in English. Lt. Governor Lemanu reconfirmed the statement of Governor Lolo and paid a special recognition to the Sons of the Daughters of American Samoa serving in the military for their sacrifices to protect our freedom.
Next to speak was Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Maliegaoi on behalf of the Government and people of Samoa. He expressed appreciation for the invitation and offered congratulations on the re-election and expressed his hopes for continued cooperation for the future of both Samoas.
After another hymn from the Iliili Catholic Choir, the Benediction was offered by Reverend Elder Fa’amao Asalele who in his remarks said that “the day was made by the Lord to rejoice”.
As lunch was served to the hundreds gathered, a traditional ava ceremony was performed by the chiefs of the Manu’a District glistening in the center of the Malaeoletalu, followed by closing remarks by HTC Malemo Tausaga and an en masse singing of “Lota Nu’u” and final prayer of blessing from Reverand Elder Mamoe Eveni.
The final event of the momentous day was the Governor’s Inaugural Ball held at the Lee Auditorium that evening.