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New passenger terminal for wharf at Fagatogo -- Folau i Lagima

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Tavita Tusitala:
New passenger terminal dedicated at inter-island wharf --  Folau i Lagima

October 20, 2010 Governor Togiola Tulafono today dedicated the passenger terminal at the Inter-Island Wharf in Fagatogo and named it “Folau i Lagima.”

Governor Togiola said the new passenger shelter, in the plans for five years, has been named Folau i Lagima as good wishes for a safe journey.

“We have this beautiful building to receive and send off our passengers and cargo and it will now be called “Folau i Lagima Inter-Island Wharf,” said Goveror Togiola. “Folau i Lagima, literally in Samoan is to ‘travel in clear skies.’ It is the Samoan welcome greeting or farewell for a safe journey. You can say ‘Folau i Lagima’ when your loved ones arrive or depart.” (Full remarks – click Read More below)

The new passenger structure was built by Paramount Builders at a cost of $396,000. Funding for the project came from the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Transit Administration and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Governor Togiola was joined at the ceremony by Congregational Church of Jesus in Samoa Rev. Fa’amao Asalele, Sr., First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono, Manu’a District Governor Misa’alefua Hudson, Public Works Director Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei, Port Administration Director Matagi Ray Mailo McMoore, Paramount Builders President Papali’i Lauli’i Alofa, Marine and Wildlife resources Director Ufagafa Ray Tulafono, Procurement Deputy Director Ivy Tuaolo Taufaasau, Commerce Director Faleseu Eliu Paopao, and Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Pili Gaoteote. Talking Chief Faletogo Ilalio of the Office of Samoan Affairs was emcee.

First Lady Mary Ann performed the honors cutting the ribbon to officially open the new passenger terminal.
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NEW PASSENGER TERMINAL DEDICATION REMARKS
By Governor Togiola Tulafono
Folau i Lagima Inter-Island Ferry Wharf
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Fagatogo, American Samoa

We give thanks to God for this day and the wonderful blessings He has given to our government so that we can carry out these services for our people. After all, we are in government to serve the people of American Samoa.

For awhile I have been thinking of a proper name for this inter-island passenger terminal. For years we have heard the passengers who utilize ocean service to Manu’a and Samoa through this wharf ask for an appropriate shelter for both passengers and cargo. It has always been in the plans. However, it took this long for the government to secure funding for this very important place of departure.

Now we have this beautiful passenger shelter to receive and send off our passengers and cargo. This dock in Fagatogo shall now be called “Folau i Lagima Inter-Island Wharf.”  Folau i Lagima, literally in Samoan is to ‘travel in clear skies.’ It is the Samoan welcome greeting or farewell for a safe journey. You can say ‘Folau i Lagima’ when your loved ones arrive or depart.

That is why we are here today for this very special occasion; to celebrate the completion of this well-made structure, which is even more special because it was constructed by an American Samoan contractor. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Papali’i Lauli’i Alofa and Paramount Builders for a wonderful job in building this facility.

I want to thank Department of Public Works Director Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei and staff for a great job on the design of this passenger terminal. Also, thank you to Department of Port Administration Director Matagi Ray Mailo McMoore and his staff for their support and recommendations for this project.

Just as important, is my big thanks to our federal partners for the funds that made it possible to erect this much-needed building for our inter-island travelers.

Yes, indeed, we truly needed this passenger terminal. Initially, it was proposed, probably by those who do not travel by sea, that we build the shelter between the inter-island wharf and the museum, in that circular courtyard across from the Fagatogo Post Office.

From the boat, that is at least 50 yards away. I had said that if we built it over there, what happens when it rains? The arriving and departing passengers and cargo will be wet.

I am sure that you hear the message every Flag Day that is expressed through songs by our visiting groups from Samoa about the lack of shelter when they arrive and depart, and often, they endure the elements while travel formalities are being processed by government officials. Manu’a-bound passengers have had similar experience.

Our plan was for the convenience and comfort of the people, as well as Immigration and Customs personnel who perform the ship’s clearance, the passenger shelter should have a roof that extends all the way to the ramp of the vessel.

What made this project unique and challenging was that this site also includes the service access road running through it along the wharf and the harbor. We couldn’t move the road, so we decided to build it from the back of the Territorial Registrar’s Office with the roof high enough that it would allow for even the highest shipping containers to pass under.

So, as you can see, the roof extends all the way to the ramp of the ship to allow for easy roll on and roll off of cargo and entry and disembarking of passengers.

So, we have for the traveling public this new facility. It is all part of our ongoing efforts to make improvements and provide the required service for American Samoa.

It is our hope and prayer that this facility will be of great use to all who use it. Please lend a hand in taking care of it.

May God bless Folau i Lagima Inter-Island Wharf and keep all those who travel through here safe on their journey and in His loving care always. Soifua.

Penina O le Vasaloloa:
This is certainly something that was long, long overdue.  It was good to see some improvements in the taulaga,

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