1 Apr 2014

American Samoa house urged to include Swains delegate in votes

11:30 am on 1 April 2014

American Samoan government officials say they support a proposed constitutional change which would enfranchise the delegate of Swains in the American Samoa House of Representatives.

The attorney general, Talauega Eleasalo Ale, and Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Satele Galu Satele, told a House hearing recently that the administration is in support of the resolution.

At present, the delegate is allowed to vote in committee, but not for the final passage of legislation in the House.

However some say the Swains delegate should be a permanent resident of Swains, since at present there's no one living on the island.

Swains delegate, Sua Alex Jennings, said it was on his instructions in 2013 that Swains residents relocate to the main island Tutuila and elsewhere because of the unsafe conditions on the island.

He said for 89 years the only voice Swains has had in the government is its non-voting member of the House and this political arrangement has greatly contributed to the deteriorating state of Swains Island.