18 Apr 2016

Tension over American Samoa canoe races

2:50 pm on 18 April 2016
American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga.

American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga. Photo: RNZI Monica Miller

American Samoa's governor is expected to intervene in the finals of this year's Flag Day fautasi race after the preliminary heats were marred with controversy.

Yesterday, the committee disqualified four village fautasi, including the two fastest boats, for allegedly not following the rules.

As news of the disqualifications spread, there were reportedly flare-ups involving fans and some crew members, with stones, bottles and other objects being thrown at buildings and passing vehicles.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago said two of the disqualified villages approached the governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, saying they did not break the rules.

The village matais reportedly asked the governor to intervene, asking him to consider the time, effort and money their villages have invested preparing for the annual race.

They asked the governor to intervene as the territory's leader, in order to maintain peace and harmony and prevent unrest.