Village threatens to sue P.M. over “dogs” label

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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IN HOT WATER OVER DOGS COMMENT: P.M. Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

IN HOT WATER OVER DOGS COMMENT: P.M. Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi. (Photo: File)

The Luatuanu’u Village Council has threatened to sue Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi for defamation over his use of the word “dogs” in reference to the village.

But the village’s request to file an official complaint against the Prime Minister with the Samoa Police Service has been rejected.

The developments were confirmed the Spokesperson for the Luatuanu’u Village Council, Tofete Lafaua Tofete. 

“Not only did he call us dogs, he stripped our village of the opportunities in the seasonal work scheme overseas and has also banned our rugby team from taking part in the competition,” he said.

“We believe the decision is unfair. It is over the top and we don’t accept it.”

Besides, Tofete said the village is reeling from Tuilaepa’s decision to use “dogs” in reference to their village.

 “These are not the words of a leader,” he said. “Luatuanu’u will never be the same after the public comments uttered by the Prime Minister." 

“We have been ridiculed by every Samoan all over the world after what the Prime Minister has said about our village.” 

The dispute which led to Luatuanu’u men blocking the road was the result of a fight between the Luatuanu’u youth and nearby village Falefa at a rugby game.

When the Police turned up, they were attacked with stones.

At the time, Tuilaepa said the young people of Luatuanu’u had no right to endanger the lives of the Police and the travelling public.

“These types of actions do not exist at this time and age,” said the Prime Minister. 

“The actions by these young men are not that of humans, rather they are the actions of dogs.”

Tofete said Tuilaepa’s comments are unacceptable.

 “We want to take him to Court,” he said. “We believe that our village is a victim in this ordeal because of the the public comments by the Prime Minister."  

“We want him to hold accountable in accordance with the law.” 

Tofete told the Samoa Observer their request to file an official complaint with the Police was denied. 

“The Police officials flatly denied our request,” he said. 

“We were informed that only the Minister of Police can determine whether we can file a complaint or not. But then the Minister of Police is Tuilaepa, so where is the fairness in all of this?" 

“The Police is where we seek assistance from. I am really saddened that we were denied access to filing an official complaint."

“We also took issue with the announcement by the Prime Minister the Police Officers were shot at by men of our village that is an absolute lie." 

“I know for a fact Tuilaepa’s comment was based on the report by the Police." 

“Those were lies and also the Police approach on the day in question was unacceptable." 

“As a matter of fact, the Commissioner and his Police made it worse with their approach." 

“They should have come directly to the Village Council, then things would be much smoother, but no, the Commissioner and his Police instigated the incident in the village which led to injured people." 

“Things would have been much smoother if the Police had followed the Samoa protocols and that was to come to the village council first,” said Tofete. 

 “I also want to make to make it clear that when we visited the office of the Prime Minister two weeks ago, we did not go there to apologize, we wanted to discuss some issues with him, so whoever said we were there to apologize that is wrong.”

According to Tofete the Village Council will go to the Office of the Ombudsman for assistance with regards to this matter later this week. 

It was not possible to get a comment from Prime Minister Tuilaepa last night.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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