6 Nov 2009

American Samoa's Congressman says Republicans comments shameful

11:27 am on 6 November 2009

American Samoa's US Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has called statements from his Republicans colleagues on the American Samoa Protection of Industry, Resources and Employment, or ASPIRE, legislation, shameful.

In a statement, the Republicans called ASPIRE a tuna bailout bill that would subsidise StarKist Samoa, the last remaining tuna cannery in America Samoa, while imposing new taxes on competitors.

They say this legislation would oblige American taxpayers to bail out the South Korean-owned StarKist tuna cannery in American Samoa.

Additionally, the bill would levy new fees on vessels delivering to StarKist's competitors, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee, and raise their cost of doing business by taxing vessels for delivering tuna outside of American Samoa.

But Faleomavaega says the Republicans made up their minds even before listening to both sides of the debate.

He says American Samoans have given their lives serving in the US military and the Republicans are trivialising this sacrifice.

Faleomavaega says the people of American Samoa are not begging for handouts but want work and the ASPIRE legislation is the best way to achieve this.