Congressman Faleomavaega announced today his sailing to the Manu’a Islands on Thursday night, June 01, 2006, on the M.V. Sili for a general inspection which will include observing and assesing wharf facilities, roads and other possible projects. President Bush has just signed into law legislation which included $1.6 million Congressman Faleomavaega proposed for the renovation of the Ta’u harbor facility, plus and additional $1.4 million for village road improvements in the Manua district.
“With this money now available, my visit to Manu’a could not have come at a better time. I can observe and assess first hand the projects that will be funded with this money, and I know once the work will be completed, it will greatly alleviate problems with Manu’a’s surface and land transportations,” Faleomavaega said.
“Surface transportation to Manu’a has always been my priority because of the persistent problems with the harbors and the boats in the past. For many years, the people of Manu’a have had to travel on open-decked vessels which many times couldn’t dock for one reason or another, and cargos had to be transferred to smaller boats sometimes on the open ocean for the final leg of the journey. Most of these cargoes were purchased in Tutuila for either commercial or personal use, and with the rough seas, financial losses and damages over the years are insurmountable,” Faleomavaega stated.
“Now, shipping and travel to Manu’a have become a lot easier. The M.V. Sili can safely berth at Faleasao, and the harbor in Ofu only needs dredging before the M.V Sili can dock there too. However, renovations are still needed for Ta’u harbor, and I am happy to say these will be done in the very near future with the funding now available,” the Congressman stated. “I also wanted to observe first hand the conditions of the roads since $1.4 million is also available now for village road improvements for the Manu’a district. With that money, residents should soon have far more improved roads than what they have now.”
“This trip will also afford me the opportunity to discuss in details the whole operation of surface transportation with Captain Wally Thomson of the M.V. Sili, and to find out from his perspective any way to further improve the operation to and from Manu’a. I will also get to chat with the boat’s crew as well as the passengers to get feedback from their perspective, aside from personally experiencing traveling on the M.V. Sili and observing its operation first hand,” Faleomavaega reiterated.
“While in Fitiuta, I want to also look at the feasibility of ASPA’s plan in moving its power plant to higher grounds next to the high school away from the present location which is exposed to wave action during rough seas. I want to see if there can be options like constructing sea walls for shelter, so that the plant remains at where it is for closer fuel and oil service from the supply ship when moored at the wharf,” Faleomavaega said.
“Upon my return to Tutuila, I intend to consult with Senate President Lolo Moliga and members of the Fono and government on any additional input they might have where I can be of help regarding the Manu’a islands. I have noticed recent visits by government officials to Manu’a, and would welcome any suggestions of how I could be of assistance,” Faleomavaega continued.
“I will seriously take up the idea of requesting a scientific study on the type of banana, soa’a, that is a delicacy in Manu’a, and explore the possibility of exporting it to markets in the United States. Soa’a grows in all of the Samoan islands, but it is abundant in Manu’a because of ideal climatic and soil conditions. I sincerely believe that if we can market soa’a on a commercial basis to the U.S., Manu’a would not be able to keep up with the demand for a 100 years,” the Congressman said.
“The other commodity that can also be developed and marketed in the Manu’a islands is ornamental fish, since ideal tropical reefs surrounding many areas of the group are perfect breeding grounds for this multi-million dollar industry,” Faleomavaega concluded.