Do you think the Human Rights Protection Party has the right to sell our human rights to foreigners?

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Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa

Come to think of it though, it seems that perhaps Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, is so obsessed with the idea of selling Samoan passports and citizenships to wealthy foreigners, it’s quite possible that little snag would just not let him sleep at night.

 Does he truly believe the millions of dollars he’s dreaming his government would be making from the sale of Samoan passports and citizenships, would rid him of his worries?

Not if he would continue to ignore - at the same time that is - rampant corruption that he should now know is the root cause of encroaching poverty that is breeding violence everywhere?

Remember the Asian man who arrived at Faleolo Airport using a Samoan passport he’d bought in Tonga, and then later he was jailed at Tafaigata Prison for fraud and for being an illegal immigrant?

That was when it all started anyway.

And then the Citizenship Act showed up.  

Later still, the government tabled the Citizenship and Investment Bills in Parliament, the Tautua Party made its opposition loudly known, and thereby the rift between the two parties widened.

The leader of the Tautua Party at the time, Palusalue Fa’apo II, told Parliament they were concerned that the bills would be a source of serious challenges no one wanted if they became law.

He also said they were worried since the bills’ aim was to entice wealthy foreigners to invest in Samoa, by offering to sell them Samoan citizenships and passports. 

He said: This is because when those foreigners become Samoan citizens, they would then be able to buy land, and yet Samoan land is a cultural commodity that is not for sale. 

As it turned out though, that clearly did not go down well with Tuilaepa, who took the floor and attacked the Opposition, saying: “… those who harbored such worries are idiots.”

He then reminded Palusalue that “Samoa was founded by brave men, not cowards.”

He also advised: “Being afraid is a sign of how foolish they are. It shows that they do not want to develop the country.

“They want the country to remain poor instead.”

Tuilaepa then went on to accuse the Opposition, saying: “There is no use having big guts but no brains. Our rights and our lands are protected under the Constitution.

Now is that so?

How can a Constitution that is made by man protect itself from man who is now intent on breaking it apart?

Still, by this time it has become quite clear that that Tuilaepa has, indeed, a mind of his own, and a pretty sharp mind too.

He said: “To say that they are afraid that our rights will be taken away is wrong. It just shows that they don’t understand the law.”

So let’s talk about the law.

What does the slogan Human Rights Protection Party mean to you? Indeed, what do they tell us?

Does it not mean it is the party that protects people’s human rights, and in that case then, it is the human rights of the people of Samoa that it is supposed to be protecting at all times?

And now that the government of the Human Rights Protection Party, lorded over by Prime Minister Tuilaepa, is proposing to sell Samoan citizenships and passports to rich foreigners, what do you think that little trip will bring about?

Indeed, do you think that is something a government should do to its people? And then having done so, Samoan customary lands, which are deemed to be the birthrights of all Samoan citizens, will also now be similarly sold.

So wouldn’t that be the most atrocious violation of the law that the people of this peaceful, law-abiding country, will be forced to carry without complaining all their lives, and then even all the way to the grave?

In Parliament last week though, Tautua’s Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai exercised caution, saying: “My concern is if the Citizenship Investment bill is for foreign investors, this bill will also mean they too will be eligible (for citizenship).”

He continued: “Extending it to second generation worries me because if it was for Samoan people only, I would say open it, why not?

“But we are not just talking about Samoans. We are (also) talking about foreigners who will become citizens through their investments and the like.”

He needed not worry though.

Since the way we see it, the only people who will be looking for Samoan citizenships here, are those foreigners who will have made their investments to our government, solely for the purpose of acquiring Samoan citizenships anyway.

As for the Tautua Party then, Tuilaepa was obviously of the opinion he was wasting his time, trying to take them seriously. 

He said: “If all they do is based on their being afraid, then all the Opposition Members should resign.”

And so, as it’d turned out, there are only three members of the Opposition Party in Parliament today, which follows that perhaps the rest might have heeded Tuilaepa’s warning and resigned anyway, before the recent elections had come around.

Now here’s the little thrill to smirk about.

Of the fifty-three members of Samoa’s Parliament today, fifty are with the governing Human Rights Protection Party, and three are with the Opposition.

Now don’t those figures tell an interesting story? 

Still the pestering question remains.

It says: Now that Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, having guided the Human Rights Protection Party with such rare dexterity over the last sixteen years - all the way towards that landslide victory of theirs so that he is now ruling with an overwhelming majority in Parliament – what’s there to stop him from passing those Citizenship and Investment Bills,and never mind Parliament?

In other words, who needs a Parliament today, now that the H.R.P.P. has the numbers to pass all the laws they want? 

Nobody.

This is to say that at this point in time no one can dare question what he wants to do, and that is the little truth that we all know.

Look at the Controller and Chief Auditor’s reports. No one cares about those reports any more. They are all in the past now, and as far as everyone is concerned, in the past they shall forever remain.

What everyone should keep in mind though, are the mesmerizing words that Tuilaepa used when he told the Opposition off, saying: “This country was founded by brave men, (and) not cowards,

He also told them that being afraid is a sign of how foolish they are. It shows that they do not want to develop the country and that “all they want is the country to remain poor.”

And lastly, let’s think one more time about the now recurring worry, that our basic human rights -  citizenships, passports  and consequently, our customary lands  - are about to be sold to foreigners by our government,  the Human Rights Protection Party.

Now do you think a government that has been proudly calling itself the Protector of Human Rights, has the right to turn around and sell the human rights it is supposed to have been protecting over the years, to foreigners?

Tell the rest what you think.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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