A new era in the political history of Samoa started yesterday.
It happened when XVI Parliamentary sitting was officially opened by the Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.
The occasion held at Parliament’s makeshift home at Tuanaimato was attended by hundreds of government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, families and friends of the 50 Members of Parliament.
During the ceremony, the new Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi and 49 other M.Ps took their oaths.
The highlight of the event was the swearing in of the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa and Cabinet Ministers.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi (Lepa)
Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Office of the Attorney General; Public Service Commission.
Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa (Lotofaga)
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell (Satupaitea)
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour; Ministry of Public Enterprises; Samoa Tourism Authority; Samoa Land Corporation.
Tuitama Dr Talalelei Tuitama (Aana Alofi No.1 East)
Ministry of Health
Sala Fata Pinati (Gagaemauga No.1)
Ministry of Police and Prisons
Sili Epa Tuioti (Faasaleleaga No.1 East)
Ministry of Finance; Central Bank of Samoa; Development Bank of Samoa
Faimalotoa Kika Iemaima Stowers (Gagaifomauga No.1)
Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.
Laaulialemalietoa Polataivao Leuatea (Gagaifomauga No.3)
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Scientific Research Organisations of Samoa-SROS.
Afamasaga Rico Tupai (Aana Alofi No.3)
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
Faaolesa Katopau T. Ainuu (Vaimauga Sisifo No.2)
Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration.
Tialavea Tionisio Hunt (Vaa o Fonoti)
Ministry of Revenue.
Papaliitele Niko Lee Hang (Urban East)
Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure.
Loau Sola Keneti Sio (Sagaga le Falefa)
Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture.
Each Cabinet Minister will be assigned an Associate Minister.
Before announcing his Cabinet, Tuilaepa said the selection was a lot more difficult given the importance of ensuring a balanced consideration.
The factors taken into account included individual skills, expertise, capabilities, the years of political experience, a fair geographic distribution and constituency that has never been represented in cabinet.
“The choices we make are ultimately our responsibility,” Tuilaepa reminded.
“I’m all too aware the coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is a step towards success.”
The Prime Minister encouraged those that were not selected for a ministerial portfolio “which are very limited” that there are other opportunities to serve within the Parliamentary processes and practices.
He reminded that with leadership comes “responsibilities that calls for extraordinary work ethics, selflessness, integrity and accountability to the electorates that brought us here.
“The future ahead belongs to those who are prepared to build it and as your leaders we will strive to achieve the best of our ability can provide with your prayers and encouragement - with God we should be able to overcome challenges.”
Tuilaepa also paid tribute to those that came through triumphant while others pondered the dregs of the appointments.
He stressed the need to stop and thank God for the political evolution of Samoa since the election.
“How often do we pause to appreciate the resourcefulness of our people,” asked Tuilaepa.
“…Their everyday struggles and their pride in the cultural and natural environment they live in.
“I am humble and honoured to take this opportunity today to offer thanksgiving and pay tribute to our people and country for the overwhelming support the government we are privileged to represent. As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter mere words but live by them.”
As the Leader of H.R.P.P., Tuilaepa emphasised that the mandate to govern through a one party state has come through the voices of the people.
“We pledge to honour this mandate and we accept that all our 47 members will be individually and collectively held accountable for their actions to lead by example.
Associate Ministers will be announced once Cabinet meets.
Parliament has been adjourned until 31 May 2016.