Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he is setting the record straight about the exemption granted for Inter Island Airways to serve our people in Manu’a.
“I believe our people have the right to know the truth about this issue,” the Congressman said, “and this is why I am making my records public. While it was my intention to release a statement on October 19, 2004 when Inter Island Airway’s exemption was officially announced, Alex Sene, President of the airline, asked me to hold off until he could make a public announcement.”
“Out of respect for his business, I honored his request but the time has now come for the people to know the truth. The truth is, Mr. Sene contacted me on September 1, 2004 and requested my assistance. On September 2, 2004, my office contacted Secretary Mineta’s immediate staff. My office bypassed the FAA and went straight to the Department of Transportation or to Secretary Mineta’s office which has oversight of the FAA.”
“From September 2 to October 12, 2004, my office worked on a weekly basis with Secretary Mineta’s immediate staff and, on October 12, 2004, Secretary Mineta’s office informed my office that the exemption would be granted. On October 12, 2004, my office also informed Mr. Sene of this good news and also informed him that this information was confidential until the official announcement was made,” Faleomavaega said.
“On October 19, 2004, official notification was released by the FAA and since this time Mrs. Amata Radewagen has tried to take credit for this exemption much like she did with Upward Bound program at our community college. If you will recall, Mrs. Radewagen told our people that Republican Chairman Boehner worked with her to restore ASCC’s Upward Bound Program funding. As we all know, this was not true and Chairman Boehner released a statement to Samoa News saying this was not true.”
“Now Mrs. Amata Radewagen says she worked with Don Bliss to get Inter Island Airway its exemption. However, according to Secretary Mineta’s office and the legal counsel for the FAA, this also is blatantly not true. According to the Department of Transportation and the FAA, neither Mrs. Radewagen nor Mr. Bliss contacted them to request an exemption for Inter Island and neither worked with any decision-makers responsible for granting the exemption,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “After the exemption was granted, Mr. Bliss did make a phone call to a government affairs worker to say nice job and this is all the FAA or the DOT has record of.”
“The truth is, my office worked with Secretary Mineta’s office on a weekly basis until this matter was resolved. And one week prior to the FAA making an official announcement on October 19, 2004, Secretary Mineta’s office called my office on October 12, 2004 to inform me that the exemption would be granted.”
“My office also informed Alex Sene on October 12, 2004 that his exemption would be granted and, every step of the way, my office kept Mr. Sene informed of the progress we were making. In fact, my office and Mr. Sene exchanged 43 emails from September 1 to November 1, 2004 regarding the exemption and these emails are on file in my office for public review.”
On October 27, 2004, Mr. Sene wrote:
I heard amata's speech and I am deeply disappointed that she is pinning her entire hopes on this issue of the exemption for Inter Island Air. She does not want to share the contribution with the Governor and the greatest contribution by your office.
I will have a news article with Fili of Samoa News to ensure to comeout by Fridays paper and God help me, I will show the great contributions your office provides. I will also credit your office for initiating steps to ensure there is money for the certification of any US carrier to serve this region of which there is no mention in her speech and is totally unaware.
Please accept my apologies, I had requested her to hold off any more mention of Inter Islands exemption but there is no hope there.