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American Samoa governor threatens dismissal for cabinet members who criticize his administration

Regional News
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PAGO PAGO (Samoa News/Pacnews) —  In a memo issued Friday, American Samoa's Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga ordered that all cabinet members, who are “actively criticizing the work of the administration” submit their resignations or, he will act accordingly.

 He is demanding “loyalty, faithfulness and allegiance from his cabinet members, during political campaign season with less than four-weeks to go from the Nov. 3 general election and less than two-months left in the administration at the helm of government.

The governor, in his memo titled, “Loyalty and Commitment to the Administration,” informed cabinet members that personal involvement in campaigning “is your right protected by law and I have conscientiously encouraged all of you to exercise your political freedom to support whomever candidate to reflect your values, hopes and dreams.”

“Notwithstanding, it is natural and appropriate to expect loyalty and support, along with advancing and defending our administration’s policies and the work it has done to improve the lives of our people from all service perspectives from the cabinet,” Lolo pointed out.

And as cabinet members of the Lolo/Lemanu administration, the governor said “you have the moral and ethical responsibility to defend and protect the policies of the administration.”

“Regrettably and sadly, some of you are personally involved in the development and public propagation of political advertisements attacking the veracity and the integrity of the administration’s policies and implemented programs and budgets,” he noted.

“Such actions,” said Lolo, “constitute disloyalty, betrayal, duplicity and infidelity to your commitment to this administration.”  And it’s also “doubly sorrowful for me that the advertisements against the administration are from those who should be championing the legacy of the administration.”

According to the governor, it’s “only fair, therefore, that those of you directors who are actively criticizing the work of the administration to please vacate your posts by submitting your resignations, as it is obvious that you no longer support its policies and programs.”

“If not, I will act accordingly,” the governor warned. “It is unfortunate that this action is taken but loyalty, faithfulness, allegiance, commitment and devotion reflects values that bound us together to do the work for which the people elected us,” he concluded.

It’s unclear at this point who the governor is targeting in the memo. But it’s common knowledge in the community that some cabinet directors — who are political appointees of the governor — are committee members of gubernatorial teams and have been active in campaign events.

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