Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has welcomed 14 new citizens of Samoa. The welcome was extended during a swearing in ceremony inside Cabinet’s room yesterday.
"Today’s occasion is a living testament of your commitment to your families and to Samoa, in that you will no longer serve Samoa as temporary or permanent residents, but as citizens,” Tuilaepa said.
"Some of you may well be, in the near future through your services to the community, recognised in your spouse's village as a matai. That is part and parcel of your being a citizen of Samoa.
"Such recognition will speak for many generations to come.
“On behalf of the people and the government of Samoa I wish to congratulate all of you who have undertaken your oath of allegiance as citizens of Samoa.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa said he knows some of the new citizens have established their families in Samoa for years and they will go on to contribute positively to the development of the country.
The new citizens qualified under Section 9 of the Citizenship Act 2004, which grants citizenship by virtue of marriage, with many having already established strong family, community and business ties in Samoa.
Citizens in Samoa are entitled to the ability to purchase land, to vote in General Elections, the right to obtain travel documentation, the ability to represent Samoa in sporting events, the right to claim a pension, the right to apply for educational scholarships and citizen rates for healthcare.
Owner of Mailelani Body Care, Sylvie Gabrielle Salanoa, is among the new citizens.
“I have been here for so long and the Samoan people have been very nice to me and accepted me and I think I have been in love with Samoa for a while now so having this citizen makes it even better for me,” she said.
“It’s just the logical next step to do because my husband and I have a plan to stay here. This is home for us so it’s just the continuation of making a statement and we are here for good, working together with the people for the betterment of the people.”
Another new citizen and owner of K.S. Mart at Vaitele, Chen Hong, said he is thankful to the government of Samoa for considering him.
“I am very happy to be able to receive a citizenship of Samoa because I have been here for ten years now,” he said. “I am like a real Samoan now. I have been here for so long and I am married to a Samoan as well.
“I understand the Samoan culture and that is the important thing here as well. I am interested in learning more about the culture and to be able to build my family here.”
The new citizens are: Mrs Sylvie Gabrielle Salanoa, Mr Narendra Krishna Gounder, Mrs Vivienne Isobel Euini, Mr Lican Chen, Mr Mingfeng Chen, Mrs Lorraine Anne Esera, Mr Cordt Wolfgang Steinsiek, Mr Chen Hong, Chiyuan Liu, Mr Youkai Fang, Mrs Varea Dawn Vaurasi-Lelevaga, Mr Alfram Roy Nukuro, Jyothi Alex Abraham, Mr Xiaohua Huang.