P.M. clashes with former Cabinet Minister
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and his former Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, got into an interesting verbal exchange in Parliament this week.
It happened during the discussion of the Supplementary Budget when Prime Minister Tuilaepa was speaking about the importance of having Cabinet Ministers visit the local markets.
Tuilaepa questioned the profitability of the Salelologa market in Savai’i, saying he only saw tennis tables, onions and potatoes being sold.
The Prime Minister said the market, which cost the Government millions - is a “major loss to government.”
“While in Savai’i I visited the market that you (Faumuina) rallied behind to build and what are they selling – nothing but tennis tables, onions and potatoes. The Government has absorbed a massive loss from this market that you built,” he said.
Tuilaepa then turned to his Cabinet Ministers and said: “Before you invest in a project, conduct thorough assessments and visit the local people, that is the only way you know what is going on and make your determination.”
A visit to the market will give one a clear picture of what life is in the village, the Prime Minister added.
But Faumuina rubbished the claim and said the market didn’t incur any loss.
“I was told by the Prime Minister to construct buildings that will last a 100 years and that is exactly what I did.”
However, Tuilaepa interjected and said: “I remember exactly what I told you, to construct the building in meeting the needs of the local farmers. I knew that after 30 years the termites will run through the building. I told you to consider the quantity of the produce that can be sold daily.”
The Minister for Public Enterprises, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, later informed Parliament that the market is not operating at a loss and it is generating revenue. And it is not tennis tables that were seen at the Salelologa market, but billiard tables, he added.