Poverty issue raised again in the House

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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Palusalue Fa’apo II

Palusalue Fa’apo II

Many members of Parliament used their last opportunity last week to maintain the support of their voters and to thank their constituencie before parliament was dissolved

But Opposition Leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II criticised the speeches from the M.P.s pointing out that all was not well in the past five years of this parliamentary term. 

Addressing parliament for the last time before the General Elections next month, Palusalue said he has recognised that most M.P.s have thanked their constituencies and acknowledged the work they have done for them. 

“But what I’m trying to say is has that (work in constituencies) prevented the problem with our children selling goods late at night?” Palusalue asked. 

“It hasn’t given us any solution to the growing number of street vendors in the past five years. This is where government should look …even the number of beggars continues to climb and the same with thieves.”

But Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malieleaoi was quick to defend the government. 

Tuilaepa pointed out that such problems exist in the wealthiest countries as well. 

He told a story of when he visited Rome then France where there were many beggars. 

“I came to New Zealand and it was shocking how I saw a masculine man yet he was sitting begging on the road,” recalled Tuilaepa. 

“The problem with this is it comes from decisions made by individuals. It is none of your business if an old woman from Siumu decides to sit on the side of the road and beg…it’s their own decision.”

 Palusalue disagreed. 

The Opposition Leader told Tuilaepa that in such circumstances the beggars have no choice when there is no money. 

“This is the lowest thing that a Samoan can do,  begging,” said Palusalue. 

“And the only reason why they are out begging is because they have no money and government should have had the solution to it in the past five years.”

But the Prime Minister dismissed the claims accusing Palu of trying to win over votes in his speech. 

Tuilaepa said it has always been what he is good at doing; misleading people and trying to earn votes through his speeches. 

Moving on, Palu raised the issue of village women representatives and their allowances. 

According to him, while the government has increased the allowances, it is still not enough. 

He did not say how much the allowances were.  

The Minister of Women, Community and Social Development, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua interrupted. 

Tolofua pointed out that the positions were new, unlike the village mayor positions that have been around for quite some time. 

He added that the allowances are also based on how much money available. 

But Palu insisted that the reason he was speaking out about the issue was because he talks to those involved. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi quickly cut in. 

He reminded Palu that he holds eight matai titles which mean he talks to a lot more pulenu’u and women representatives compared with him. 

Tolofua agreed and took the floor. 

He said the problem with the Opposition Leader is he gets angry very easily. 

Tolofua then compared Palu to Nathan from a popular Philippine’s series who gets angry easily. 

“The reason why Nathan is the way he is, is because he doesn’t drink his pills. It’s the same with the Opposition Leader.”

At this point, Palu, who was obviously unimpressed, told the Speaker that the comments from the Minister were rude and should not be allowed. 

The Speaker of the House, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao ordered the House to be calm. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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