P.M. explains why a minute of silence motion was rejected

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi has offered an explanation behind the Parliament Speaker turning down a motion for a one-minute silence for victims of the Christchurch shooting. 

The motion for Parliament to observe a minute's silence to pay respects to the Christchurch terrorist attack victims was tabled by the MP Tafua Maluelue Tafua in Parliament last Tuesday, but it was knocked back by the Speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi.

The Prime Minister, who is also the Minister for Legislative Assembly, said such a request could not be made under the Parliament Standing Orders. 

He pointed out that his Ministerial statement – which was extended on behalf of Parliament and the whole country – meant more than just a moment of silence. 

“Message of sympathy and condolences were sent to New Zealand on that Friday from one leader to another, period,” he told 2AP in his weekly programme. 

“But because of the close ties between Samoa and New Zealand I suddenly felt I had to make a (Ministerial) statement. 

“There is a special program in the Chamber where a moment of silence is observed for a member it does not include anything else outside of that. 

“So parliament was in session and the Speaker followed the usual practice and the order of the day and I decided to extend our condolences on behalf of parliament, the whole country and our government. 

“This means what was done was more than a moment of silence, it was a resolution when the motion was moved and adopted…it was made official.” 

The Prime Minister applauded the Speaker of the House for accepting his motion. 

However, the Speaker said the Prime Minister’s statement and condolences was sufficient. 

About the request from the MP, Tuilaepa said the member should have never made the request as Standing Orders only allows observing moment of silence for Members of the House. 

He accused the MP of lacking foresight and he could have told the Speaker about what he was thinking, which would then enable the Speaker to explain the Order of the House to him. 

Turning to those who criticised the decision, the Prime Minister said the incident has been used by people with negative intentions (tagata alualua mafaufau) to scapegoat the Government.  But he did not name who he was referring to. 

The Prime Minister also used the opportunity to warn that such “act of hate”, making reference to the gunman responsible for the terrorist attack in NZ, also exists in Samoa. 

He reminded he has been talking about this issue in the past of people with bad intentions providing “misleading information or fake news”. 

The Prime Minister pointed out that these people advocated their messages of hate through Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. 

He added that they are no different from the gunman in Christchurch, who shared his messages of hate on social media and filmed the event live, without sympathy even for children that died. 

Tuilaepa recalled and said those acts of hatred entered Samoa four years ago. 

“That why I stood and I wanted to add on that what happened in New Zealand is happening in Samoa and I have seen it and have seen it in some people who have same attitude,” said Tuilaepa. 

“I used the opportunity to extend our condolences and at the same time I warned our leaders to be alert in case we look outside and mind what its happening overseas but it is here in Samoa that comes in form of lies and messages of hate. 

Tuilaepa described those people as being brainwashed and have no respect for others. 

“These people have no respect when they speak and the words they speak of are extreme,” he said. 

“It also reflects on families they come from they are divided. They speak about human rights but behind it all they have unlawful intentions…they do not understand our Samoan culture and the fa’amatai.” 

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