M.P. supports Government’s prison investment

Member of Parliament, Fonotoe Lauofo, has showed his support for the Tanumalala prison project during Parliament’s session last week.

Fonotoe challenged the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa, and Minister of Prisons and Corrections, Tialavea Hunt, to go through with variations if necessary for the construction of the new prison. 

The project led to heated discussions in Parliament last week when it was revealed by Tialavea that Government is investing $20million in the Tanumalala prison.  

“If need be, conduct the variation, the Government has committed to see through that the project is complete. 

“Do it well, do it properly and get it done,” he said. According to Fonotoe, it is quite a huge project and it’s useless to invest in a project halfway. 

He pointed out the Tafa’igata Prison is rather limited and yet the number of prisoners has increased. 

“The construction of a new prison is nothing new, thankfully the Government has the finances to get this project underway,” said Fonotoe. 

He also suggested for the prisoners to undergo education while incarcerated. 

“We cannot continue with the system we have where the inmates are there to serve time in jail and then release them back into society. 

“The Government should have programs in place to educate the inmates, rather than just its biblical courses to assist them or teach them to learn trade. 

“By the time the inmates have served their time and upon return to their respective families, they have learned something, they have been rehabilitated,” said Fonotoe. 

He admitted that having a bigger prison means more government expenditures. 

“However, the Minister of Prisons mentioned commercial farming for self sustainability and I applaud the Ministry for initiating this project. 

“If successful, this will create revenue for the Prison,” he said. 

Fonotoe also cautioned the revenues from commercial farming should be accounted and this will result in a self-sustained prison.  

“Again if the commercial farming is a success, the Government will save money, and I support the efforts 100 percent,” said Fonotoe. 

He says emphasis and complaints targeting the prison facility and how much money the Government is spending on the project should not affect the well being of the prisoners. 

“The project is quite important, however the inmates are much more important and the Government should invest in rehabilitating them while they are incarcerated, by the time they return to society, they would be law abiding citizens,” said Fonotoe. 

He also commended the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell, with the national carrier, Samoa Airways. However there is a need to upgrade and have an operational website to ensure customers can make online bookings and collect more revenues. 

Fonotoe also suggested for the Government to consider having a second airplane to adequately service all customers and all routes. 

“It should also make a requirement for all Government officials to travel exclusively on Samoa Airways for official travel duty and for members of the public to utilize their airline,” he said. 

Another issue Fonotoe raised is the lack of prevention for non-communicable diseases. 

He said there was a need to change the mindset of the Samoan people from depending on medication to prevention. 

“For diabetic people, they continue to just eat even though they are sick because they know there is medication to help. 

“My point is there is a need to raise awareness on aspects of prevention,” said Fonotoe. 

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