Community Briefs

US SENATE PASSES MEASURE TO NAME VA CLINIC AFTER FALEOMAVAEGA

The US Senate has passed “by unanimous consent” a U.S House measure, sponsored by Congresswoman Aumua Amata, to name the US Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in American Samoa, the “Faleomavaega Eni Fa’auaa Hunkin VA Clinic”.

According to Congressional records, the measure was passed Mar. 15 and thereafter a note was sent to the US House about the measure’s approval. The measure will now go to U.S President Donald Trump for his signature.

Faleomavaega, who served 26 in the U.S. House as American Samoa’s Delegate until he was unseated in the 2014 election, passed away on Feb. 22 at his home in Provo, Utah at the age of 73. He was laid to rest on Mar. 11 at the Provo Cemetery and the funeral ceremony was attended by local residents and leaders including Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie and Sen. Fai’ivae Iuli Godinet as well as Cong. Aumua Amata.

REGIONAL FISHERY COUNCIL 3-DAY MEETING STARTS TOMORROW

The three-day 169th Meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council opens tomorrow at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu.

American Samoa’s three members on the Council’s board are expected to attend: ASG representative, Va’amua Henry Sesepasara, director of the Department of Marine of Wildlife Resources; Christinna Lutu-Sanchez of Longline Services Inc.; and Taotasi Archie Soliai of StarKist Samoa. Lutu-Sanchez is also one of the four vice chairs on the board.

At the meeting, the Council is expected to act on two issues: Analysis of the fishery ecosystem plan management unit species for ecosystem component designation for Guam; and Developing fishing regulations for the monument expansion area in the north-west Hawaiian islands in Hawai’i, according to the Council’s information.

Several other fisheries issues will be discussed and reports presented including those pertaining to American Samoa, such as the longline fishery, large vessel protected area (LVPA), and Advisory panel reports and recommendations.

According to the draft agenda of the meeting, an update report will be presented on the status of the Fagatogo Market Place fish market, which was funded by the Council, but has yet to be fully operational. The Council will stream the meeting online live. Information for the link on www.wpcouncil.org

It’s at this meeting Va’amua told Samoa News that he expects to raise the issue with the Council about the American Samoa Community Activities and Issues Report. He said details in the report say it is using a portion of the $1 million in proceeds from the Disaster Fund for Manu’a alia boats, is not true — “is only for alia boats on Tutuila.”

AMATA AGREES THAT THE VA MUST HIRE “THE BEST & THE BRIGHTEST”

Washington, D.C. –Friday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata, released the following statement regarding the passage of H.R. 1367, to improve the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

“I was proud to support this measure during committee proceedings, which will enable the VA to not only discipline those employees who aren’t living up to the high standards we want for our veterans, but will also allow the VA greater flexibility in hiring and retaining quality employees who want to serve our veterans in the manner in which our heroes deserve.

“I want to thank my colleague Congressman Wenstrup for introducing this legislation, which I am proud to support, and look forward to seeing it signed into law by the President. The period of unaccountability at the VA is over. We can and must do better for our veterans, and this is a good start,” stated the Congresswoman.

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