27 May 2004

American Samoan Congressman opposes more federal control

4:31 pm on 27 May 2004

The American Samoan member of the US Congress Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has voiced his opposition to a move by the US Department of Interior to tighten conditions for funding for Capital Improvement Projects in US Territories.

The Department says it will base funding on each territory's fiscal management, project planning and management.

It is going ahead with the plan despite objections from some territorial leaders, including American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono.

Faleomavaega says the Department may be over-reaching itself.

"saying we are going to put more conditions to our elected officials before such funds can be spent and I think this is something that we have to be very careful and watchful for. What is the sense of having an elected governor if the deputy assistant secretary is going to be the one controlling the use of the funds."

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says there are already mechanisms such as audits, through which the Department of Interior can achieve its objective accountability.