Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has opposed a call by the Tautua Samoa Party to allow Samoans living abroad to vote from where they are in the General Elections.
Yesterday evening, Tuilaepa said as long as he is the Prime Minister, he would never allow such a foolish tactic to destroy Samoa.
Tuilaepa was speaking to the media yesterday in response to the plan by the Tautua Samoa revealed during the launch of their Manifesto.
The Prime Minister warned that the decisions for Samoa will be dictated from overseas if this happens.
“If you want to vote, you get on the plane and come here,” Tuilaepa said.
“We are not stopping our people living overseas from voting but they have to get on the plane to do that.
"But to suggest that we set up offices overseas for this, the first Prime Minister did not accept this and I don’t accept it too."
“If we open this up, people living here will lose the power to decide for themselves. The country would be governed from overseas because there are a lot more Samoans abroad.”
Tuilaepa added if such system were allowed, it would not be limited to Samoans living in New Zealand. It would include Samoans in Hawaii, America, Tonga, Fiji and all over the world.
“I don’t think the leader of the Opposition has the foresight to see this,” said Tuilaepa.
“The only thing he is looking at is getting in but he does not see the effect it has on those living here.
“Doing this is an insult to people living in Samoa. It tells us that people like us who are living here are stupid and governing the country should be given to those living overseas.”
Tuilaepa said once this is allowed then it would similar to what is happening in the Cook Islands where the country is led by someone who had lived overseas.
He maintained this was the system from the time of former Prime Ministers like, Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II, Tupua Tamasese Lealofi IV, Tupuola Efi, Va’ai Kolone and Tofilau Eti Alesana.
“There should never be an opportunity to allow this,” he said.
“They can go and serve the government of the country they live in but when it comes to government of Samoa, leave that to the people living here.
“If they want to be part of it, they can come and live here for three years and vote…they should make sacrifices like doing monotaga (village contribution).”
According to Tuilaepa such tactics come from M.P.s who go overseas and fool Samoans when they go to fundraise and find money.
“I don’t know if Palu is back from Australia where he went to fundraise,” said Tuilaepa.
“The thing is if you go overseas to fundraise, you put it straight to them that those living in Australia wanting to come back to Samoa is like someone leaving paradise to go to hell.
“You don’t want to go back to the difficult life in Samoa and if you want to run for office you can go to Canberra…the reason why it’s difficult is because they don’t set the record straight when in fact all they want is money from the people and they already know you are a con.”
Tuilaepa recalled the election in 2006 where he received a call from a Radio station in Australia.
They told him it would be a great campaign point if he were to tell them that laws would be amended to allow people living overseas to vote. In return, the Samoans in Australia will tell their families in Samoa to vote for the H.R.P.P.
“I said to them look don’t try to fool me,” said Tuilaepa.
“I wont be fooled by something that I don’t agree with. I stand my ground and I will not allow this because in the future, M.Ps would be holding Parliament in a nightclub if its allowed.
“But if you agree with the Opposition, then vote for them. We will not allow such foolishness.”