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Mauga points to illegal drugs in the territory as an “infestation” and a “silent killer”

Secretary of Samoan Affairs Mauga Tasi Asuega has voiced concerns over the influx of illegal drugs and consequently the growing drug problem in American Samoa. He has called for every level of the community to unite in the fight to get rid of these drugs, which he says have “infested” the territory and are the “silent killer” in the community.

Speaking at last Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Mauga said traditional leaders are worried and concerned with the influx and spread of drugs in the territory. He noted that not one week goes by without a report on a drug case.

American Samoa is “infested” with drugs, Mauga said, likening the infestation to the rapid spread of the Zika virus.

If there is anyone in the American Samoa who does not understand the drug problem, then that person should be made aware that there is a serious drug problem affecting the community, the Paramount Chief said.

“It’s a silent killer” in the community, Mauga declared and told the cabinet meeting that, “if we hide from it, turn our backs to it and walk away from it,” then they are also at fault for not addressing this serious problem.

The Secretary of Samoan Affairs said it is not only the responsibility of the police, government agencies, the governor, the lieutenant governor, to tackle this infestation — but “it’s everyone” working together to root out this problem, including families and villages.

And for chiefs, or matai, he said these individuals should fully enforce their role and authority in their respective villages, which is where this “fire” (drugs) is starting.

Mauga said drugs are his enemy and he wants to hunt down those responsible for the drug problems and turn them over to Police Commissioner Save Liuato Tuitele to be jailed.

“Let’s work together,” he told the cabinet, because it’s a “serious case” in the territory.

Meanwhile, Mauga expressed appreciation to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga for their leadership in the last four years, saying that through their leadership — “you walk the talk’ — making “it easy for all of us to follow.”

He acknowledged that the last four years have not been easy, especially last month — referring to the Nov. 8 general election. Mauga commended Lolo and Lemanu for calling a special Sunday service, after the general election, for everyone to come together, including their opponents — to offer prayers together and to recognize “we are all one family.”

Samoa News notes that at every cabinet meeting, towards its conclusion, the governor has asked Mauga for any special remarks.