About Olo and Minister Tialavea’s little scrap

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

On Monday, outspoken Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, voiced what many people are probably thinking but are perhaps afraid to say.

In a story titled “M.P. calls on Prisons Minister to step down” published on the front page of the Samoa Observer, Olo did not mince words. In light of the ongoing problems at Tafa’igata Prison, Olo said if the Minister Tialavea Tionisio Hunt cannot fix the problems, he should resign and let someone else get the job done.

It’s a legitimate call based on the notion that with anything in life, the buck stops at the top. In this case, the Minister who has been lording over all these problems at the prison must take some responsibility for what is happening.

With that in mind, Olo said he is baffled as to why no one from the Samoa Prisons and Correction Services has been charged over what he described as the “unlawful release” of notorious criminal Tagaloasa Filipaina during the holidays.

Here is the thing folks; the law passed by Parliament which the Government and the Minister should be upholding prohibits the release of someone like Tagaloasa. 

But obviously the Prison didn’t care. 

Now what’s the point of having laws if they are openly ignored? Imagine the message that prisoners are getting from watching one of the most dangerous men in Samoa waltz out of Tafa’igata?

Which brings us back to Olo’s ire.

 “Who is above the law and who isn’t?” he asked. “Why is that no one from the Samoa Prisons and Correction Services has been held accountable for the unlawful release of inmates? The law has been broken, yet nothing has been done about it.”

That’s when Olo called on the Minister of Prisons, Tialavea, to step down.

 “The unlawful action by his Office should be dealt with immediately... it’s puzzling to see how our justice system is not adhered to when it comes to certain individuals,” Olo said.

 “Tiavalea defended the release of Filipaina last month, publicly as indicated in your newspaper, so my question is why has the A.G. and the Police not charged anyone for breaking the law?” 

 “There is inconsistency and favouritism when it comes to government officials. The government needs to walk the talk but not just pick and chose who the law applies to and who the law does not apply to.”

Again, these are legitimate questions, which deserve some answers. Where is the Attorney General in all this? And yes what about the Police? What are they doing knowing that the law was blatantly ignored?

Now when Minister Tialavea was asked for a comment, he laughed at Olo. Said Tialavea in response: “As for his call for me to step down, all I can say is God bless you. I also wish you (Olo) good luck with whatever it is that you are doing.”

It’s hard to take his comments seriously, that’s for sure.

But if anyone needs “luck” and God’s blessings, it is Tialavea as the Minister with the way the Prison is being manned at the moment. 

We cannot deny the fact that it is a mess. And it’s about time someone is held accountable for what is going on.

When will they stop giving excuses and defending their pathetic behaviour?

Olo went on to raise a very valid point about what he said is the “tragedy” of Samoa today. 

 “Everyday in the Supreme and District Court, there are cases of people standing before Court for violation of the laws, some cases are very minor. So what is the difference in this case?” he said.

“The law has been broken and yet no one has been held accountable. “

“It is sad when you know that when Government officials break the law, nothing is done about it, yet when the common people when they are in violation of the law they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” 

That sounds like the story of Samoa today, isn’t it?

Come to think of it, could that be why some of the most notorious criminals in this country today are behaving so erratically as if they run this place? 

They could be taking the lead from some of their role models in politics. Write and share your thoughts with us! 

Have a wonderful Friday Samoa, God bless!

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