“SAMOA MUAMUA LE ATUA”
Dear Governor Lolo,
Samoa muamua le Atua. We have that on our American Samoa Government seal and we have always prized ourselves as God fearing people and people of faith. We have always prized ourselves also as loving people.
But the past few months since the outbreak of COVID-19 things have been different and we are seeing the reality of it and it's true nature. The pros and cons and the good and the bad that is being debated. Fear has reigned worldwide in all countries and almost all leaders have stepped up to the plate. They've implemented safety measures from wearing mask, washing hands, staying and working from home and shutting down and testing etc to combat the virus. They've even gone as far to repatriate their own people home with quarantine and other safety precautions in place.
Mind you an antibiotic is still been sought by different governments and we keep hearing as to when one will be released and how conclusive it will be. It will be awhile before an effective drug is found and it will be awhile before it is released to the public.
The virus is now becoming a way of life and a part of our everyday life. Doctors and scientists have said the virus is not going to go away and is here to stay. And it will get worse when the cold or winter comes.
So my question to the Governor and to the Fono and to all those against opening the borders and not wanting their own people repatriated home — Does that mean Am. Samoa will continue to shut it's borders and not repatriate its citizens home?
Our government has not helped the 500 plus citizens stranded all over the United States, but have forsaken them. People did not expect to be in this situation but have tried to manage to the best of their ability. Other Pacific island governments have stepped up and repatriated their people. Why not us?
The $175 million or more from the CARES Act that our government received should have been used to help the stranded citizens. But the funds are being squandered foolishly on meaningless Sunday meetings and building projects which have nothing to do with the virus.
Why did you lie all this time to the people who are stranded when you knew very well you weren't going to allow them home this year? There was never an actual plan in place for repatriation all this time. What was presented was all for show. Was it to justify spending the funds. In fact are there any funds left at all? Will the next governor do the same as you? Why not put into practice all the safety measures and quarantine that have been put into place like other countries have done and bring your stranded citizens home?
What about our stranded citizens back home and those who want to come up on their own for medical check-ups and medical reasons of their own? Are they to remain stranded in American Samoa too? And if they were to come up like those who are covered by Medicaid are they going to be stranded here too like all of us who are stranded?
American Samoa and you governor have become the spotlight in TV news and international news because of your neglect of your citizens who want to return home.
Even the President of the United States was courteous enough to respond to an American Samoan citizen’s letter for help while you only turned a deaf ear.
The Tagata TuTu Fa'atasi Alliance was formed by chance among a few stranded friends but it has become the voice of all the stranded as a place to console, express and share what a stranded person is feeling and experiencing due to hardship and being apart from families and loved ones.
We pride ourselves as church going and God fearing people just like the motto says "Samoa muamua le Atua" but what's been happening lately has put us to shame as we have been left by the wayside like homeless people. Isn’t it about time you as our Governor and Leader and Father of our Country stand up and step up to the plate? And be remembered as the Governor who finally did something.
Wayne Francis Pila