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Friday 24 June 2016 | Published in Regional

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AMERICAN SAMOA – A candidate for lieutenant governor in American Samoa has criticised the incumbant government for accumulating long-term debt of nearly US$150 million.

Lawmaker Larry Sanitoa is the running mate for governor candidate, Faoa Aitofele Sunia in the November race.

Sanitoa says there is a serious need for responsibility of government finances at all levels.

He says the main priority for their administration would be to implement a comprehensive plan to control spending on critical needs.

Sanitoa says the economic landscape, the private sector and ability to generate money for reinvestment is of great concern.

He says the more than US$149 million in debt from the American Samoa Economic Development Authority is most worrying with people obligated to pay off the debt over the next 20 years.

The two say they hope American Samoa doesn’t find itself in the same situation as Puerto Rico, which is struggling to pay back bonds and sought a federal government bailout.

Sunia says the public doesn’t have confidence in the current leadership.

Sunia, who made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2012, said the territory is beset with problems because of the current leadership of Lolo Maliga.

Faoa said during the campaign he and his running mate Larry Sanitoa will explain how they will address the problems and challenges the territory faces.

The current governor, Lolo Maliga and the lieutenant governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga, formally announced this week they would try for re-election.

Lolo and Lemanu have asked Amerian Samoa voters to give them four more years so they can finish the projects they have started.

- RNZI