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Dear Editor,

Since the article “Stranded American Samoans offer solutions to their overseas plight” was printed in the Samoa News, there has been overwhelming support. However, the issue is not “The Solution(s)”, the problem according to the populace, is the lack of leadership and TRUST in the leaders that are supposed to be “FOR the People, BY the People and OF the People”.

Our Governor and his COVID-19 Taskforce often reference how American Samoa was one of the few places to not have any deaths in the 1918 global pandemic that killed over 50 million people.

In an article written by James Stout in the Laphams Quarterly, April 2020, he regards that the swift action and foresight of U.S Navy Commander John Martin Poyer saved lives. Upon further research, Commander Poyer worked with the matai and villages to enact a very strict patrolling system to make sure no-one came on shore.

You might also want to know, Governor Poyer did not shut the harbors to incoming steamships, he allowed them in, on the condition that they be quarantined for five days on Goat Island (currently defunct Rainmaker Hotel site) — Samoans and white arrivals both quarantined and after five days of no symptoms, they were allowed to go home.

Commander Poyer recommended that the 3 district chiefs of Americans Samoa, who were Mauga, Satele and Tufele, receive Presidential medals. The government leaders, the matai and its citizens, were successful against a deadly disease. These were OUR ancestors. They had little, in terms of data, technology, tools, and millions of dollars from the Federal Government that we now have at our disposal.

“Samoan society is structured by deeply held familial bonds. Without an adherence to those bonds and the swift and decisive action of the matais to set up patrols to ensure a quarantine that would have been unenforceable by a few colonial administrators, thousands more Samoan lives would have been lost.” (Stout, 2020).

The Americans Samoa COVID-19 Taskforce must reach out to their stranded citizens. An open dialogue MUST be initiated, where ideas can be turned into actions that enforce strict adherence to the safety of our people.

WE ARE RESIDENTS OF AMERICAN SAMOA. We want to HELP. If you allow us, we can start off by setting up a ZOOM session!


*. Using the latest data model, we would like to design a plan that will enforce all the safety precautions of allowing the borders to open for stranded residents.

*. Utilize the group’s skills in creating a COVID-19 Dashboard working alongside your health experts and IT personnel for public access to view the latest statistics with the data visualization tool.

* Allow us to be your eyes and ears of managing some of the everyday planning in how to set up your quarantine sites; we are after all LIVING in the midst of this pandemic here in the U.S, since March!

Our services are for the people, we also do not want the virus to enter our island.

The Tu Faatasi Tagata Alliance of American Samoa once again is an organization of ordinary citizens stranded in the U.S. WE WOULD LIKE TO HELP!

Signed: TTFAAS

ReferenceArticle: american-samoa-kept-pandemic-bay