Former Police Constable, Seiloga Mauigoa, has broken his silence over Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s directive for couples working together at the Police to resign.
He said it’s “unfair treatment” and “discriminatory.”
Mauigoa had been part of the Police force for seven years.
He is married to a Police Officer and they have three children.
The Mauigoas were one of the 23 couple’s affected by the Prime Minister’s announcement in November 2017.
He has kept his silence until now.
“We pleaded with the Police Commissioner for some sort of financial incentive; however we were informed that the Government gave us a whole year to look for other job opportunities,” he said.
“And the Government is right. We were given 12 months to seek other means of work.”
The father of three said the current regulation only targets married couples and it is clearly discriminatory.
“What about the couples in defacto relationships, it is unfair.
“The Government has moved to remove all the legal couples in the Ministry, what about the couple who are in illegal relationships.
“It is illegal for couples to be living together and not married,” he said.
“Up until this day, I don’t understand as to what is the negative impact of married couples working together.
“It does not have any effect on the work we do,” he said.
“And the Government should have removed all the couples working together whether they are married or living together.
“It does not make any sense at all,” he said.
“So for us, my wife was supposed to resign, but then we had to leave for New Zealand and that’s when we decided I will be the sacrificial lamb.
“I am currently seeking a job,” he told the Samoa Observer.
Mauigoa said ever since the directive was implemented, they suffered from financial restraints.
Last month, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Nafo'itoa Talaimanu Keti, raised concerns about what he claims to be a loophole in the law, which disallows legally married couples from working together within the Ministry of Police.
The matter was raised in Parliament, where he queried the Government on why there was no redundancy package offered for the Police officers who were forced to resign as a result of the legislation.
“Despite the fact that the regulation has been approved, I am merely highlighting its impact, such as the Ministry of Police,” he said.
Nafo’itoa’s son and daughter-in-law, who worked at the Ministry of Police, were one of the couples affected by the new amendment.
“They left the force silently for the benefit of the new amendment where married couples are not allowed to work together,” he said.
“They left the force without any redundancy benefit, this is a concern.
“The Government should’ve considered finding them job opportunities, what about their personal loan repayments?
“Nowadays applying for a job is like applying for a visa, especially when you’re a former Police Officer. It’s difficult to find employment at this time and age.”
The concerns were supported by Member of Parliament, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, who pointed out that the Government should have considered some assistance.
“Any separation initiated by the employer, the employee will always get some sort of redundancy package unless the employee was terminated, that would be a different story,” Faumuina said.
“International law is that an employee who is laid off should have been given a redundancy package,” he added.
But Associate Minister of Police, Peseta Vaifou Tevagaena, intervened.
He pointed out that the regulation disallowing couples and children from working together is nothing new.
“This regulation is mandated under the P.S.C. (Public Service Commission) and because it creates a conflict in any Ministry.
“Again this is nothing new and the regulation was not abruptly put in place. It has been in place for a very long time, and immediate families cannot be working together. That is why the Minister of Police enforced this regulation.”