The Ali’i ma Faipule (village council) from the village of Sili yesterday offered a traditional apology to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.
The villagers travelled from Savai’i to perform the ifoga at the Prime Minister’s residence at Si’usega.
Two busloads of matai were accompanied by the village’s spiritual leaders for the ritual at 9am.
The apology over an offensive video posted on the internet was accepted, Prime Minister Tuilaepa told the Sunday Samoan during an interview at his home last night.
“Yes I have accepted [the apology] with gladness and I forgive this boy,” the Prime Minister said.
The video clip, filmed at a deserted plantation, was reported to the Police after it was loaded on Facebook.
Prior to that, it was circulated among mobile phone users.
The contents of the clip are “emotionally distressful,” the Police said.
“They carry verbal harassment towards the Prime Minister.”
Last night, Tuilaepa praised the leaders of Sili, saying the ifoga is one aspect of the fa’asamoa that separates Samoa from the rest of the world. “Countless questions will be raised by the country,” he said.
Among them would be “where are the Ali’i ma Faipule?”
“But the village chiefs of Sili have shown good leadership”, he said.
The Prime Minister said he did not seek the apology but the mere fact that the village turned up to his home indicated that cultural respect is alive and well.
“If this happened and they did not consider it – a person has many roots, especially when what was done was directed at the leader of the country.
“So it involves the whole country.”
Tuilaepa also reminded that one of the most important roles of the Ali’i ma Faipule is “to stop young people from such unethical behaviour.”
The Prime Minister said he was impressed by the teamwork of the Ali’i ma Faipule and their spiritual leaders.
As for the young man who posed as TV presenter, Tuilaepa said he would discuss with the Police what their next step would be when work resumes tomorrow.
Meantime, his advice to the public is to use mobile phones wisely. He warned against using phones for “stupid things as such.”
“When you use a phone to defame someone, you are liable to the law. If you cross that boarder, you can be charged by the Police.”
Perhaps the young man did not know what he was doing was wrong, said the Prime Minister who added that people should be cautious.
He said the young man should not have tried to copy the work of the news media and newspapers.
“Newspapers have rules that it follows... and they work according to their own ethics,” he said, adding that the offender has taken advantage of his freedom of speech and might have abused it too.
It was not possible to get a comment from Sili last night.
Samoa is a member of what is called the Cartagena Dialogue, a grouping of 30 countries who claim to be dedicated towards positive action on climate change.
News that the government of Australia is again threatening that country’s national broadcaster is deeply concerning.
Announcements from the country’s Foreign minister indicate that, like other western countries, the government of Australia is not learning the lessons provided by repeated economic crises.
Let’s go back a quarter century.
On its front page of 17 January the Samoa Observer published the story titled “$5 more a month an insult”. The “$5” in the title is the new monthly increase in the pensions for Samoa’s senior citizens, all those who are aged 65.
Last week, we can be forgiven if the country was focused on domestic, rather than foreign affairs.