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Retirement Board threatens legal action if ASTCA doesn’t cough up infrastructure and equipment info

ASTCA building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Samoa Government Employees’ Retirement Fund (ASGERF) says that if the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) continues to stall in producing requested information on its “infrastructure and equipment” — information requested by off island companies entertaining the idea of setting up shop in the territory — legal action will be pursued as a last resort.

Vaanatiu Tofala Iafeta told Samoa News yesterday that he and ASGERF executive director Talia Faafetai I’aulualo were recently in Hawaii for meetings with a group that’s assisting the ASGERF in connecting with tech and media giants such as Google, Facebook, INTEL, Microsoft, and giants

“These companies need to carry out assessments before they can commit to opening up in the territory,” Vaanatiu said. “They need to test the capacity of the Hawaiki cable so they can have an idea of what they will have at their disposal.”

As announced earlier this month by the ASGERF, the “computer programming and computer network workforce education and training course” will be offered at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), under the direction of Stratus Silver Lining, Inc., a company based out of San Jose, CA.

The program is set to kick off September 1st with 500 local residents, with another 500 new students added every three months thereafter until 2,000 locals are served.

Those who successfully complete the "intense but condensed" program will be eligible for paid internships (at least six weeks long) with multi-billion-dollar companies in the Silicon Valley.

“Strategic planning needs to be carried out and we need certain information before we approach these companies and present what we have to offer,” Vaanatiu said.

He said ASTCA Board Chairman, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira has hinted that the move to get customers for Hawaiki cable is politically motivated, with ASGERF executive director I’aulualo intending to run for governor in next year’s general election.

Vaanatiu downplayed the allegation and said the decision to attract companies to use the Hawaiki cable was made by the ASGERF board long before I’aulualo decided to throw his name in the hat — for candidacy.

Vaanatiu said the ASGERF’s main goal is to ensure that their investment in the Hawaiki cable doesn’t go to waste.

ASGERF is currently in early discussions with several Silicon Valley tech companies and Norway technology companies to open offices here and take out licenses to access the Hawaiki cable. "The revenues generated from these licenses will be used to fund the ASGERF Pension Fund," Iaulualo said.