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First Lady leads Governor’s Office annual Christmas visitations

First Lady Cynthia Malala Moliga (right) chatting with a mother, whose child is between them in a bed at LBJ

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — First Lady Cynthia Malala Moliga, accompanied by staff of the Governor’s Office, carried out the Governor’s Office annual Christmas visitation - delivering gifts to patients at the hospital.

Also last week, the Governor’s Office dispatched staff, led by Salanoa Ricky Salanoa, to carry out the annual Christmas visit to the Territorial Correctional Facility, delivering food and other goodies which were given to the guards.

With TCF under lockdown due to the measles outbreak, the governor and other senior ASG officials — who usually visit TCF — didn’t go. In past years, TCF would put on a special performance for the visitors; but this time, there was none due to the lockdown.

Another annual traditional Christmas visitation and gift presentation carried out last week was to the Hope House facility at Fatuoaiga. Mrs. Moliga was accompanied by the governor’s executive assistant, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira and a handful of staff members, and were welcomed by the leader of the Catholic Church in American Samoa, Bishop Peter Brown.

With restrictions placed on people entering Hope House, the gift presentation and speeches were held at one of the offices there.

Iulogologo noted at the presentation that the government has allocated $100,000 to Hope House and presented $25,000 as an additional monetary donation on behalf of the governor and the administration. Mrs. Moliga spoke at the brief gathering, which included a large cake wishing the Hope House residents and staff a Merry Christmas.

Samoa News notes that the ASG $100,000 contribution is listed under Special Projects, administered by the governor, in the fiscal year 2020 budget.

These three visits usually include several cabinet members, but due to the measles outbreak as well as many cabinet members being involved in the government’s move to prevent the spread of the deadly disease, none of them made the visitations.

Also missing in this year’s visitations is the Department of Human and Social Services choir, singing Christmas songs.