“It has been a dream of ours for a very long time to have a store with display windows and 20 years later we finally nailed it. We have always been tucked in the back, yet we know our products deserve a front and center display” - Margaret Fe'esago
Ten primary schools from the Falealili district took part in the B.S.L Falealili Quick Rip - Get into Rugby Festival tournament.
The two words that sum up P.M. Tuilaepa’s Cabinet reshuffle
Congratulations and commiserations. The two words immediately spring to mind looking at Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s decision to reshuffle his Cabinet line up nearing the end of the current Parliamentary term.It’s not unusual for ruling governments to reshuffle portfolios during a Parliamentary term and in Samoa, this is not the first time Cabinet responsibilities have been moved around.But it is rarely done and that is because leaders like Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi only do it when they feel it is absolutely necessary.The decision to swap Cabinet Ministers for the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development is an interesting move but it is hardly surprising.That said; it comes with a strong message from Prime Minister Tuilaepa to everyone in his Cabinet. Performance matters.The outgoing Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, appears to have become the casualty of a comedy of errors at a Ministry which he has had a couple of Parliamentary terms to try and sort out.Indeed, the mess at the Ministry of Health, which has been well detailed on the pages of this newspaper, remains largely unresolved. Despite the Government’s official spin on the recent merge between the National Health Services and the Ministry of Health that it was well and good, trouble continues to bubble beneath the surface so that it’s impossible to ignore the idea perhaps the Ministry needs someone new at the helm.Prime Minister Tuilaepa knows this. And he would have felt that he has given Tuitama enough time and opportunities to fix it. He couldn’t.The truth is that there is so much more going on internally at the Ministry of Health – good, bad and ugly - members of the public do not know. Judging from what was exposed publically during the Commission of Inquiry, it is more ugly than good.The resignation by the Director for the Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U.), Dr. Dina Tuitama, would not have done the Minister a favour, especially given the fact she is his daughter. And that’s not all. Reports swirling around that Dr. Dina Tuitama is not the only top health official to have walked away from the Ministry would have definitely contributed to the decision.But even more interesting is Tuilaepa’s choice of replacement. His decision to bring in someone with little or no previous experience in the health sector as the new Minister will certainly raise eyebrows among professionals in the sector.Maybe the Prime Minister’s decision is to try and resolve the ongoing clash between doctors and nurses? Who knows? Whatever the case might be, the new Minister Faimalotoa Kika Stowers has got her work cut out. It has everything to do with sorting out multiple challenges in terms of the delivery of public health services and dealing with internal frictions and staffing issues. Faimalo will need all her calming influence if she is going to make a difference.That said, for Tuitama, those who follow politics in Samoa closely would know what it means when one is allocated the Ministry of Women portfolio. Which is sad and contradictory given the critical role the Ministry plays in the development of women, children, villages and different communities. Suffice to say, all the other changes in Cabinet portfolios appear unnecessary.Apart from the Police Commissioner Fuiava Egon Keil who gets the last laugh about the decision to bring the Traffic Division of the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) under his watch, the other portfolio changes appear quite irrelevant.They appear to have only been made to mask the change Prime Minister Tuilaepa really felt necessary to be implemented at the Ministry of Health.In the official statement issued by Cabinet, the tone couldn’t have been more revealing – even it was unintentional on their part.Listen to it one more time: “The Prime Minister noted that while Cabinet Ministers are expected to shoulder the weight of their portfolio responsibilities, it is very crucial that careful consideration must be given to the depth and intensity of each Minister’s workload.“The government is in the second spell of this parliamentary term and the Prime Minister stated that it is timely for these changes to be made.”Well there you have it folks. It’s a done deal. And those two words spring to mind once again; congratulations and commiserations.Have a wonderful Friday Samoa, God bless!Read Full Story
Is the water rate increase justified and affordable for families?
Well for me, I am always very supportive of whatever practices that any Ministries would do as long as they're for a better reason. If the water is expensive or cheap, the most important thing is that we can access the water and there is nothing more important than that. Those who are complaining should reconsider their views on the issue because I will keep saying this. I thank God for the fresh water we can access each day so if the Government will increase the rate of water bill then I know it's for a good cause.I guess for this one I think the Samoa Water Authority (S.W.A) is increasing the water rate to protect against the misuse of water by those who could not care more about the importance of water in our lives. A lot of people are misusing water as if it's for free so I hope this increase will stop them from this misfortune. Second, although I want people to stop misusing the water, I also feel sorry for those families who have very little income in their pockets so I hope God gives the Government and SWA a better solution to make it fair for everyone.I was shocked the moment I heard about the increase in the water rate. To be honest, 90 per cent of the families in Samoa, who mostly live in the rural areas, have very little money to pay for water bill and that also includes my family. So that means having to increase the water rate will cause more struggle for families who are striving day and night to find money to pay their water bills. Life is getting more and more expensive so I hope the Government would have a little consideration of the struggles we're facing these days.Personally I think the increase would be a better option for those, who are using water to manage the usage of water because as for us, we do not have water but we feel that majority are just not valuing the essence of water in our lives. We know how important water is because we do not have full access to the water. We supply our water from our neighbors but then again, I fully support the increase of water rate so people can start learning how to use water wisely and think of us, the poor families who do not have access to the water.To compare from the current water rate to however high they will increase it to, I think it's appropriate to increase the water rate so it can also help out the water managers (S.W.A) to equally supply the water throughout the country. But, I also recommend that they consider the situation of the people. Some people does not have much money to pay for the water bills, even with the current water rate. So I suggest they increase it only in a way that can teach the careless people of the unwise usage of water, but not so high in a way that it can cause more problems to the families who are trying to earn. That is my only concern.For me, I think it's both advantages and disadvantages when I think about it. First, it's a very good option or way to manage the usage of water wisely by some other people. Some people are always careless with the usage of water. Sometimes I will always check my water bill and it's either normal or shockingly speeds up to an unexpected bill and it's because the people are careless in using water. Second, it's not fair for us paying the water, when we think about those who are not paying water. They do not care about how much water they use because they're not even paying a single cent for it. That's my only concern for the water rate increase.Read Full Story
About that Vaitele to Faleolo road project
Dear Editor,Last Sunday’s story and several earlier articles as to the eligibility of local road construction companies to bid for the Vaitele to Faleolo road upgrading repeatedly refers to this being a “multi-billion tala” project which is actually quite ridiculous. In reality it could be described as a multi-million tala project, although even this is stretching the truth somewhat as it only amounts to a few million. This is a quite pruned back non repayable grant from the World Bank which only allows a restricted level of reconstruction towards the goal of a road resistant to climate change and sea level rise. Indeed because of the funding limitation even the sealed surface will only be another chip seal, rather than the more desirable asphalt, as used on Vaitele Street, which provides a much longer lasting and pot hole resistant surface, but at a much higher cost. Also for similar reasons, the helpful cement stabilisation of the road pavement, as also used on Vaitele Street, is beyond budget. Essentially this project is more a rehabilitation rather than a new construction.There also seems to be confusion in your articles and among several members of the public that Government requested a reduction in construction standards whereas I think the actual reasonable request was for a reduction of the specified annual financial turnover so that more local companies could bid; not a reduction in specified road standards. What makes bidding difficult for local contractors is that the World Bank has rigid guidelines on eligibility which require a minimum annual recent turnover of several million dollars which of course is difficult for small island contractors to meet and in reality is aimed at larger nations with a consequently much larger economic base. This has always been a problem with local Bank projects but their rules are quite inflexible. It is not a new concession and it has always been allowed that bidders may make their bid as a joint venture. However, as pointed out by the Minister, previous joint ventures have tended to experience difficulties.An additional Bank requirement is that no priority be given for local companies and international competitive bidding is mandatory. Fortunately in this case the relatively small size of each individual contract makes it unattractive for overseas companies given the high international mobilization costs involved.I think L.T.A. is doing their very best under these restrictions and a little public support is needed. M.A.An Interested BystanderRead Full Story