25 Apr 2017

Pence to make stop-over in American Samoa

7:54 am on 25 April 2017
US Vice-President Mike Pence gives a press conference after a meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on 20 February.

US Vice-President Mike Pence Photo: AFP

Security is expected to be tight at Pago Pago international Airport when Vice President Mike Pence arrives in American Samoa this afternoon.

The estimated time of arrival for Air Force 2 for a refuelling stop is 4pm.

Our correspondent says it's planned that the vice president will get off the aircraft.

The territory's Congresswoman Aumua Amata will greet Mr Pence who is travelling with his wife and daughters.

During the one-and-a-half hour stop an Ava ceremony is being planned by the Governor Lolo Moliga, Fono leaders and the Chief Justice.

Mr Pence will dedicate the VA Outpatient Clinic to the memory of the late Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin and review American Samoa army reservists.

American Samoa jobs still up in the air over US cuts

American Samoa's government is unlikely to get any more clarity from the US administration during the brief visit about job security for thousands of its employees.

Announcements about cuts to funding programmes from the new Trump administration have caused concern in American Samoa where government employees are into a third week of reduced work hours.

Our correspondent Monica Miller said shorter work days were introduced after Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga signalled that future funding was uncertain for the almost 6-thousand territorial government employees.

The US Interior Department Acting Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula was in the territory this month and met with American Samoa's leadership.

"Basically the message from him is that everything is up in the air. Key positions within the Department of the Interior which deal with the territories have not been made. And I believe that his suggestion is that we have to be frugal and there's no telling what's going to happen."