Governor Lolo Moliga and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi at the completion of the Samoa Talks in Apia
By Rula Su’a – Vaai
APIA SAMOA – SATURDAY 02 DECEMBER 2017: Samoa and American Samoa have agreed to facilitate a Samoa Pass to help ease travel between the two Samoas. The Samoa Pass is American Samoa’s reply to Samoa’s request for a three day permit for people travelling over to the territory on business.
It is one of the outcomes of the Samoa Talks in Apia this week that also looked at cooperation issues between the two Samoas.
The Samoa Pass will not only ease travel between the two countries but serves to facilitate trade and investment for economic development.
American Samoa’s Attorney General, Talauega Eleasalo Ale says American Samoa aims to implement the system by the end of this year.
This follows difficulties and the time consuming system where permits are approved by the Attorney General’s office and then recently reverted to the old system where Samoan travelers need to complete an inter-departmental approval by a sponsor in the territory.
Ale assures that with the outcome of the talks on business travel permits, there should not be any trouble on communication between the two Samoas.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi says the Samoa Pass plan reduces a lot of red tape in processing travel permits.
Under the incentive, a free three day permit will be available for American Samoa residents to visit Samoa for business related purposes.
In return American Samoa will allow a Samoa premium permit or a single permit fee allowing multiple entries for locals to enter the territory for a one year period.
The two Samoas need to agree on the timing for implementation.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa is applauding the Samoa Pass Program and looks forward to the successful outcome which he hopes will minimize the inconvenience for inter-island travellers.
He added, it may ease travel but one must not forget it would not be fool proof.
“There is a point where both of our countries cannot make decisions by ourselves as (American Samoa) operate under regulations from the Federal, so we can say the Samoa Pass plan is something we can plan and implement.”
The inter-island talks also discussed Health, Education, Tourism, Telecommunications and Transportation issues.