15 Jan 2003

Senate president in American Samoa responds to walkout

9:22 am on 15 January 2003

The president of the American Samoan senate, Lutu Fuimaono, has responded to yesterday's walkout by the chief justice and the governor's speech at the opening of the legislature.

The chief justice, Michael Kruse, left the ceremony as the senate failed to call Senator Faamausili Pola who was reinstated as senator for Manu'a by the court after being removed by fellow senators.

But it is being reported from Pago Pago that the chief justice did not leave in protest but because he was a potential member of an appellate court to review the Faamausili case.

Lutu Fuimaono says the senate has a dual purpose and asked for understanding if the senate made a mistake in the way it handled the matter yesterday.

He says while the senate has been tried in court, senators view the traditional districts they represent as being the highest authority which they must follow.

Governor Tauese Sunia did not give a state of the territory address as planned but instead spoke about his sadness and disappointment over the state of affairs in the Senate.