Govt moves to request complete review of Am Samoa’s census data
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In concert with Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata who contacted the U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo recently about issues with the 2020 Census count and how it affects American Samoa, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga has directed the Dept. of Commerce to plan how best to approach the Census to conduct a recount.
Coming prepared to the final cabinet meeting of the year last week Monday, Commerce director Petti Tagipo Matila told the governor and cabinet, "The 49,000 [the current 2020 census count for the territory], truthfully, is going to impact all the Federal resources that come into our island. It does not matter how big or small your grant program is; our population count will affect our Federal resources.”
The director clarified that the US Congress uses the Census data to calculate any formula to budget the money for programs. Currently, the Census Data generates new data through government services that show that more than 49,000 people live in American Samoa. “ASG will be requesting a complete count review and a recount to include those who were repatriated after the Census was conducted,” she said.
The DOC director and statistician presented the following steps they plan to enact:
Thanking the director and the statistician following the presentation, Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Va’alele Ale pointed out, “The population count is key to any growing society, it is the key to our economy — businesses will not grow. It is also very important to our workforce.
“If we do not have enough people, we need to start bringing people in from other countries. Recruiting from other countries because our own talent pool and our own local resources are scarce.
“But this is why it is important to understand what our population looks like, because we need to understand what our pool looks like. Population matters. The bigger the pool, the more chances we will have to recruit better chances for us to do better and talent from local resources.”
Prior to opening cabinet business last week the governor made clear that neither he nor the government is forcing anyone to “come work for the American Samoa Government. But if you choose to work for the American Samoa Government, then you will have to follow the rules.
He told the cabinet “we need to lead by example. Get your employees vaccinated. It is impossible for the government to push the mass vaccination program when there are people out there who are standing against being vaccinated. We need to focus on education and outreach. The more prepared we are as leaders, the better prepared we will be to answer those who are fighting for the opportunity to help defend our island."
See details of Human Resources report on ASG vaccination statistics in last Wednesday’s issue.
(Source: Governor’s Office press release)