Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has reassured that the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P) is a working group.
As such, they will continue to make Samoa one of the best countries in the world by undertaking necessary developments so that Samoa is in line with the rest of the world.
Those are his final comments as voters head to the polls for the 2016 General Elections today. Some of the developments he is referring to include a $400million Faleolo International Airport, an international wharf at Vaiusu among many others.
Tuilaepa maintained that every idea comes from God.
“This government has the foresight and the vision and we have the experience in terms of governance,” he said.
Referring to the plans for the wharf, Tuilaepa said there is an urgent need to move the wharf to a bigger space.
“We know that there are many cruise ships but they usually miss us and go to Tutuila if they know that there are already two ships docked there,” he said.
“We are in a situation where we cannot just sit around. Any government with the foresight would not wait until something happens before they act.”
Tuilaepa accused the Opposition of lacking vision.
“What they need to do is come up with new developments and stop complaining about what we are doing,” he said.
“They even talked about pensioners but that (the pension) is an initiative of the H.R.P.P. We are the only country in the Pacific that has pensions for the elderly.”
Tuilaepa also made reference to Palusalue Fa’apo II being a former member of the H.R.P.P.
“He is talking back to his boss and talking about things that he doesn’t know anything about,” he said.
One of the things Palusalue doesn't know anything about is the reason for the delay in some projects. Prime Minister Tuilaepa referred to the construction of the new Parliament House and office of the legislative assembly.
He recalled that the discussion started in 2012 when Australia made the offer to fund it. But Australia has since had a few changes in government making it very difficult to proceed. One of the issues involved Australia cutting its foreign aid budget.
“It was later that I met with the Deputy Prime Minister and I reminded her and she reassured me they will discuss it. I told them that in our culture when a person gets a tattoo, it’s an embarrassment if they don’t finish it.”
Sometime after that, Tuilaepa said Australia committed the funds on the understanding that Samoa will also contribute to the project.
“That is what I mean by foresight and vision,” said Tuilaepa.
It’s the same issue with the Leone Bridge, he said.
Looking ahead, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said leaders must not be afraid of changes.
“If the world is revolving and we do not adapt and make changes then what the leader of Tonga had said will be true. He said Samoa is 30 years in advance while Tonga is still falling back. We should not let the fear of change stop us…we will not know what is good and bad if we just sit and not taste it.”
Looking back at the past five years, Tuilaepa acknowledged the contribution of the Opposition party.
“Even if we don’t share the same views, we believe that whichever government takes over, that is an appointment from God,” he said.
“Having an opposition party is a good thing because they provide a check for the government and where ever the government is at fault they will bring that forth.”
No one is perfect, said Tuilaepa. He explained that there are times when public servants do things that are not in line with the government’s policies.
“It happens when the devil takes over but it is not what a political party would ask them to do.
“That is why the role of the Auditor’s office is crucial because they report only to Parliament, not anyone else. There is also the office of the Ombudsman where a Commission investigated and changes were made in the Ministry of Police because of a letter.”
Tuilaepa said these steps reflect a government that is guided by the principles of good governance.
The Prime Minister wishes Samoa a peaceful and an enjoyable election.