P.M. says “atomic bomb” reference figure of speech

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi says his reference to the use of an “atomic bomb” to blow up petitions against the Government’s Electoral Constituencies Bill was “blown out of proportion.”

The reference was made in Parliament after two petitions lodged by separate villages were tabled during last week’s session. The bill was eventually passed.

In response to questions from the Samoa Observer where the Prime Minister was asked to explain, Tuilaepa said it was a figure of speech. 

“The comment was a figure of speech, a simple matter for a journalist of Samoan roots with some depth of our cultural knowledge,” the Prime Minister responded in writing. 

“It is one of the oldest and most popular sayings or tactics used by Samoan matais to emphasise the importance of an issue.  It was literally blown out of proportion and deliberately sensationalised as usual by the Observer for the sake of a dramatic headline to sell their paper.”

Tuilaepa referred to an “atomic bomb” when the second petition against the Bill, was lodged by the Ali’i ma Faipule of Tafua, Savai’i. 

“The time will come when I will address the three steps the government took to make major amendments to resolve this matter for all eternity,” Tuilaepa said then.

 “We’ve been independent for nearly sixty years now, and yet this matter of some constituencies having two, three, four reps in Parliament is always brought up.”

Tuilaepa said the Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018 is a move by his administration to “address this once and for all.”

“The Governments of the past avoided it. Why? They were afraid to touch fire but with the H.R.P.P. government, it is our belief that it is only smoke, no one will get burned.”

That’s when he said: “I will blow this up with an atomic bomb; I will not shoot it with a tu’itu’i.”

In a written response to questions from the Samoa Observer, Tuilaepa again explained the importance of the changes.

“The Electoral Constituencies Bill 2018 is the last phase of the long line of many, many electoral reforms initiated by the H.R.P.P. government close to 4 decades ago,” he said. 

“Since the H.R.P.P. came into office, respective Electoral Commission of Inquiries were established to review the electoral processes after every General Elections to minimise and remove any corrupt practices observed during the election.  

“But as we all know while government does not condone corrupt and illegal electoral practices before, during and after general elections, candidates always seem to be creative in all kinds of tricks to win.”

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