Saturday, March 5, 2011

Business as Usual for Faleomavaega while American Samoa Sinks

If proof ever were needed that Samoa News, the territory's only independent daily news source, has not a clue what is going on around it, the paper's recent coverage of Faleomavaega's latest travel provided it.  While the Governor was in Washington fighting a last ditch effort to get federal assistance for the territory's tanking economy--with unemployment now over 20%, Samoa News was headlining Faleomavaega's "speaking out" about the need for Pacific Island countries to be included in trade talks between Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.

Was he doing so from his office in Washington, between meetings and appointments with the governor and federal policymakers?   No.  Eni was on his latest and one of his most inappropriate trips abroad: for a conference in New Zealand focused on U.S.-New Zealand commercial relations and a quick dash to Australia to discuss intellectual property rights.  Nowhere in the paper, at which his sister-in-law is an editor, can a question be found about why it was necessary for him to be on this trip while his governor was in Washington trying to save the territory in the face of sharp reductions in federal spending.

Adding further insult to injury, the nine-member congressional delegation of which he was a part, stopped in American Samoa to refuel in both directions, pausing only long enough for a quick ride into town on the return leg of the trip.   Not for lack of trying, the Governor no doubt will come home empty-handed.  Eni was back in Washington in time to take his seat last week at a House oversight hearing on territorial issues but his major contribution was to rebut the Governor's contention that the rise in the minimum wage was the major factor in the territory's economic crisis.

One wonders if they even met at all. 

Faleomavaega already has announced he will be traveling to South Korea.

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