M.P. says sorry

The Member of Parliament for Anoama’a West, Fonotoe Lauofo Meredith, yesterday apologised in Parliament on behalf of the Luatuanu’u village.

The apology follows an incident where young men from Luatuanu’u blocked the road, threw rocks at passing vehicles and attacked Police officers who had been called to end the roadblock.

Eight Police officers were injured.

When Parliament convened yesterday, Fonotoe, a former Deputy Prime Minister, said he was deeply sorry for the hurt caused, especially to people who were injured.

 “I want to express my apologies as a representative of the constituency,” Fonotoe said. 

“We humbly ask for your forgiveness for what had occurred as a result of a sporting event that let to a dispute among the children.” 

Fonotoe said the Luatuanu’u Village Council is now working with the Police. 

“I believe this matter has been resolved and the four villages involved in this issue will meet and iron out things.

“This is to ensure the safety of everyone so that this type of issue does not recur.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi acknowledged Fonotoe’s apology. He thanked the Member of Parliament for taking responsibility of what had happened. 

 “Mr. Speaker, it’s important that this message comes from within Parliament,” Tuilaepa said. 

“Shots were fired by village members of Luatuanu’u and luckily no Police officers were injured or died as a result. 

“The Police officers, under the law, have the power to use their guns when necessary for their protection. 

“The same Police officers are highly respected Chiefs in their families and villages, yet they have been tasked for the safety of the public. 

“And as reported to me, to encounter such actions by the young men who covered their faces, they pursued the Police officers who were there to protect the public whose vehicles were stoned by the young men, how rude.”

The Prime Minister again claimed that some chiefs from Luatuanu’u were involved.

He made it clear that under the law, there is a high penalty levelled on anyone who assaults or kills a Police officer. 

According to the Prime Minister, Police officers in the United States resort to the use of their guns when necessary. He said the young men are copying what they see in movies. 

Tuilaepa also noted that what happened at Luatuanu’u is a clear indication that Chiefs of the village have no authoritative strength to control the young men. 

“Even church ministers were unable to keep the young men calm and that is why the Minister summoned the Village Mayor on what their stand in this matter was. 

“This should have been resolved easily and again looking from it in a positive manner, we as Chiefs should be vigilant in advising our children,” he said. 

Tuilaepa said the matter should have been given to the Police to investigate and lay appropriate charges against the culprits, instead of taking the law into their own hands. 

He assured those involved will be criminally charged and penalised in accordance with the law.  

“Today speaks for tomorrow and if this is not dealt with today, this will be repeated and we will not allow that to happen. 

“This is a lesson learned for all of us. We should be alert because the bad influence from overseas has reached Samoa and if we are not vigilant enough, this will ruin Samoa. 

“Samoa is the only remaining country in the Pacific whose culture and traditions are intact and that is why the role of a Chief is relatively important in our country.”

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