13 January 2016

Samoa Prime Minister critiques American Samoa's political status


Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

APIA, SAMOA — American Samoa “has the worst kind of relationship that any country can have with America,” says Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in an exclusive interview at his office last week. He was talking about the territory’s political status of “Unorganized and Unincorporated” after Samoa News had asked him about ASG showing interest in Samoa’s “Citizen by Investment” law during the Inter Samoa Talks.

According to the bill, which was detailed in the Samoa Observer, a citizen from any country who is willing to invest a million tala in Samoa — after a series of checks outlined in the Bill — could become a citizen three years after, and eventually, he/she could own land in Samoa.

Tuilaepa stated that American Samoa wouldn’t be able to have a similar bill because the territory doesn’t have the freedom to do so. Samoa’s Prime Minister said there is a limit to ASG’s freedom, and that’s why the current governor and former governor both urged looking at the political status to see if it’s feasible to alter the status “to have a degree of independence through special relationships, with America.”

He further stated that it’s up to ASG and the people of American Samoa to decide for the future because American Samoa (as well as Puerto Rico) needs to “shape up” its current political status.

“You need people with courage and foresight to look very carefully into the existing relationship — whether you are satisfied. The way I see it, it is the worst relations that any country can have with America. You are always on the bad end, but your people seem to like what you get and that is what you’ll have ‘til kingdom comes — if you continue in the relationship.”


During the Samoa talks held in American Samoa last month, American Samoa was interested in learning more about Samoa’s “Citizen by Investment” law. During the Talks, American Samoa acknowledged the progress Samoa has made in its “Citizen by Investment” law and was interested to learn more about how Samoa is marketing the program to prospective investors/citizens. Currently American Samoa has an existing law allowing and facilitating foreign investments but it is not tied to citizenship or permanent resident status.