No school lunch, no ATM machines, and no hospital supplies in Manu’a
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Manu’a District #1 Representative Fetu Fetui Jr who is also Vice Speaker of the House strongly believes that the American Samoa Government (ASG) has failed to keep the many promises for the services ASG should be providing for the people of Manu’a.
As one example Rep. Fetu identified the government-owned Territorial Bank of American Samoa’s (TBAS) plan, laid out in May 2019, to expand its service to the Manu’a island group with the installation of ATMs, starting with Ta’u island and later on Ofu island.
He also mentioned plans by the Port Administration to provide forklifts for Manu’a to assist residents in uploading and unloading cargo when a vessel arrives at the Ofu or Faleasao wharfs.
“I’ve been a faipule for my district for many years now for the only purpose — to serve my people and provide all services they need for their daily lives. But it appears to me that ASG has taken the Manu’a islands lightly,” Fetu said, adding that “Everything that is good for the people of Tutuila is also good for the Manu’a islands.”
Fetu voiced his concern during a House Session this week.
He said it’s been three years now since the TBAS chief executive officer revealed their plans for the installation of ATMs for Manu’a — and up until now, nothing has been done.
“We’re been fooled by this man (referring to the TBAS CEO) and this man must be fired and find someone who is faithful, honest and has the true love for the people of American Samoa,” Fetu said.
Fetu questioned why TBAS was able to install their new ATMs in various locations such as night clubs and some local stores, but not for the Manu’a island.
Fetu also did not mince words when he also found out this week that no Manu’a students have received food from the School Lunch Program this week. Instead, teachers and parents worked together to prepare breakfast and lunch for students in all the Manu’a islands.
It was Rep. Alumamamlu Filoiali’i Ale who voiced this matter during the House Session this week. Alumamalu said that he was on his way back home after the House session on Tuesday morning when he received a phone call from members of his constituency, informing him that Manu’a High School students had not received food from the school lunch program for breakfast and lunch. So teachers and parents worked together to find ways to feed students.
After he contacted the schools in Manu’a, Wednesday morning, its appear that all schools in the Manu’a group had faced the same problem throughout this whole week.
Alumamalu said he’s very disappointed because the problem happened on the first week of school, noting that the Department of Education (DOE) had enough time to prepare for the new school year but its appears that this is an ongoing problem from the past.
According to Fetu, this is not the first time this has happened.
“It happens every school year and I just don’t [understand] what these people are doing in the office while these problems occur,” Fetu said, adding, “It appears to me that these people are not qualified for the job. So the government needs to hire good people who know how to deal with these issues in Manu’atele.”
House Speaker, Savali Talavou Ale quickly intervened and advised Fetu to be mindful with his comments and protect the integrity of the Fono.
The chair of the House Education Committee, Rep. Vailoata E. Amituana’i echoed the concerns by the Manu’a faipule and quickly acted to find ways to solve the problem.
He set a committee hearing for 8:30a.m. today, Friday, Jan. 14, with the DOE director, the School Lunch Program manager and a representative from the Governor’s office.
SHORTAGE OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES FOR MANU’A
Alumamalu told representatives that one of the problems the Manu’a people are currently facing is a shortage of medical supplies. According to the Manu’a #1 faipule, he was contacted by members of his constituency this week requesting his assistance by picking up their medical supplies from the LBJ Hospital and sending it over to Manu’a.
Discussing the lack of health services for people of Manu’a, Fofo representative, Andra Theresa Samoa said that a critical piece of equipment for the LBJ Hospital, the CAT scan, which allows doctors to see inside a person’s body, is still down.
Samoa, who is also the chair for the House Health/ LBJ committee scheduled a hearing next Wednesday with health officials to discuss the issue. She said that it’s been a while since the CAT scan went down and it appears nothing has been done to solve the problem.
When questioned about the problem, the LBJ CEO Faumuina John Faumuina told Samoa News that parts to repair the machine have arrived but another problem with the film for the machine occurred and they are working now to fix that problem as soon as possible.
A senior official at the LBJ said the current CAT scan is reaching its life expectancy and it’s time to plan for a new machine for our hospital.