Caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is remaining defiant, vowing that his administration will not be “held hostage” by “childish and foolish Opposition tactics”.
Tuilaepa made the comment in a press release issued by the Office of the Government Press Secretariat yesterday, in response to a notice of motion for a Declaratory Judgement and Restraining Orders filed by the Tautua Samoa Party last week.
“Government will not be held hostage by these childish and foolish Opposition tactics,” Tuilaepa is quoted as saying.
“It’s absurd. For the Opposition to threaten government is like an empty 44 gallon drum when struck by a 2 by 4 inch Samoan cricket bat. It makes a hollow and thundering sound.”
Filed with the Supreme Court on 10 February 2016, the motion scheduled to be heard on 22 February, is asking the Court to prohibit “all members” of Cabinet or the caretaker government “from applying to be candidates in the upcoming General Election”.
The motion also seeks a Declaratory Judgment to say that the caretaker Cabinet “does not have the legal capacity to conduct the executive functions of government of Samoa”.
According to the Motion, the respondent’s legal incapacity is evolved from the violation of the Constitution of Samoa clause 32 (1) by violating the doctrine of Collective Responsibility.
But Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the move is political and said he looks forward to the challenge being driven by the Opposition’s “bush lawyers”.
“To cite the Constitution as grounds for their politically infested strategy is a reflection of ignorance of the law,” Tuilaepa.
“If one recalls, the Constitutional amendment proposed recently by government to Parliament pertaining to the two new Urban Seats in the House provides valuable insights into the opposition.
“When that amendment came up for third reading and final approval, only Leala, (Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, the former Opposition Whip) supported the constitutional amendment.
“None of the Opposition MP’s except Lealailepule understood that the Electoral Act amendment for the establishment of the two urban seats cannot be touched without amending the Constitution first.
“So how can they talk about the Constitution when they have no inkling about our country’s sacred Document?”
The Prime Minister also noted that to cite the voluntary resignation of the former Finance Minister as an example of their court action is a gigantic error of judgment.
“The resignation was a compromise solution by the former Minister to maintain our own Party’s unity,” said Tuilaepa. “With all the hearsay at the time, the Minister had sacrificed his portfolio for the sake of Party unity.”
“The Attorney General Office was requested by me to investigate whether any legislation was breached by the Minister and the response tabled in Cabinet did clear the Minister. I also explained in my letter published by the Observer on the Saturday Issue following Good Friday 2015, the stupidity of the allegations made. “I am disappointed that the Opposition’s bush lawyers could stoop so low to woo the voters. “Regardless, I am eager to see details of their proposed court action which I will be more than happy to response to in detail.”