Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has defended the Government’s decision to appoint 34-year-old Falefata Hele-Ei Matatia to spearhead Samoa’s preparations for the 2019 Pacific Games.
Tuilaepa said Cabinet’s decision to endorse Falefata as the C.E.O. for the Pacific Games 2019 was a well informed decision.
He rubbished claims that the newly appointed C.E.O. is a risk, given his lack of experience in organising major events.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Tuilaepa said Cabinet met three times before they finalised their decision.
“The only issue was that there were a lot of applicants but the panel decided to interview only three,” he said. “That is why the Cabinet instructed the panel to interview all of the applicants."
“It was after that when Cabinet finalised their decision on Falefata.”
Tuilaepa said there are 13 Cabinet Ministers.
“Keep in mind that the pool of 13 I am referring to are leaders of this Government, some are former C.E.O's while others were on scholarships overseas."
“And this is what most people forget. Other Cabinet members were businesses owners and the decision is not made by fools.”
This week, Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio told the Samoa Observer that Cabinet has appointed Falefata 34, to the role.
“The Cabinet and the Samoa Government has faith in Falefata and his ability to take on the vast responsibilities that comes with being the C.E.O,” he said.
“He was highly recommended by the panelists and given his vast knowledge in sports; we opted for some new blood in the Pacific Games arena."
“Falefata is young, smart, and energetic and given that we have just less than 16 months before the Pacific Games, we know he is the man for the job,” said Loau.
The position was advertised twice.
“During the first round of interviews, there were only three applicants and so the panelists made the nomination."
"However Cabinet felt that there was a need to re-advertise the C.E.O. position given there were not enough applicants for the panelists to choose from."
“We needed more applications so there is a pool of candidates for us to select from. This position is relatively important and we cannot stick to just the first three applicants."
“We had other applicants, but the final decision has to come from Cabinet and Falefata, an avid sportsman, is the man for the job.”
Falefata is the son of Reverend Pisopa and Petronilla Matatia from the villages of Fusi Safata and Lefagaoali’i, Savai’i. .
Falefata is not new to the arena of sports. He is the C.E.O. of the Samoa Institute of Sports (S.I.S.) launched in December, 2016.
The S.I.S. is a sports development and management company that specialises in supporting the advancement of Samoa’s future sporting stars.