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Wait a minute — changes in Samoa 7-day entry permits not yet inked into place PM says

Samoa PM Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa
Source: Savali govt newspaper

Apia, SAMOA — The changes in entry permit protocol for inter-island travel between Samoa and American Samoa is not yet in effect, according to the Samoa government newspaper Savali, which reported the proposed 7-day entry permit is one of the issues presently under review.

According to the newspaper, Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa remains firm on her resolve for the two Samoas to consider a free access for inter-island travel.

“The truth of the matter is, we are in this predicament because we created this predicament,” the Prime Minister was quoted saying in the Savali.

She recalled that past administration had imposed the entry permits based on personalities and reputations without consultations to consider its merits, advantage and disadvantage to residents who are now enduring the hassles and inconveniences not to mention the fees.

And if overstaying in the territory is an issue, Fiame does not agree.

She reasoned that Samoans tend to overstay to avoid the hassle of requesting entry permits but if access is free, it will provide the freedom for inter-island travelers to move back and forth without overstaying.

The Prime Minister also reiterated that Samoa is more than ready to remove the entry permit requirements for American Samoans and reinstate the free entry for territorial residents to visit and remain in Samoa for 90 days.

As a compromise, she suggested a 14-day entry permit for Samoa residents to take care of their personal and business obligations in the territory.

“Let’s get real and make accountable decisions, which are for the benefit and best interest of our respective residents, after all is that not why we have resurrected the Atoa Samoa talks between the two Samoas?” added the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile a signed Outcome Statement from the Atoa o Samoa Executive Meeting last week in Tutuila is anticipated to be inked and made public in a matter of days, according to the Savali.