The Head of State’s message for members of the XVI Parliamentary sitting was simple, eloquent and meaningful.
“The burdens of leadership need not be borne by you alone,” his Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi told them at Faleata yesterday.
“Parliament of course is ultimately accountable for the laws it makes on behalf of the nation. But as individual parliamentarians you need not and ought not to bear the burden alone.
“It can be shared with your peers within your parties, across the House, in select committees, special inquiry commissions, and so on and so forth.”
His Highness also pointed out that true sharing, however, means not the shirking of responsibility through menial delegation or the subjugation of minorities but through a proactive empowering of co-operative leadership.
“This includes building a governing culture that can ensure an openness to debate, to having informed and constructive dialogue (public and closed), to having quality evaluation data and public access to that data (including transparent and regular data collection, evaluation and reporting processes), and to fully engaging across all sectors a professionalism that includes an ethics of care,” he said.
“These are the imperatives of a just democracy and of the rule of law. “Our Constitution embraces the values of democratic government and gives pride of place to both our indigenous and Christian values.
“You, as the 16th parliament of Samoa, have a responsibility to do all you can to protect the best in our traditional values and in our Constitution.
“Whilst change is a given for any society, it is also something that can be manipulated for more negative than positive ends.
We must always be mindful of this. We must ensure that we do all that is prudently possible to prevent any unlawful manipulation or coercion, active or by omission.” His Highness also spoke about climate change as a real part of our lives today.
“It is encouraging to note the budgetary commitment made by the last government to addressing the challenges of climate change. This shows prudence and acknowledges the seriousness of the issue.”
His Highness Tui Atua delivered his keynote address in Samoan and English.