The Government’s laui’a, thorn named Olo and the wait for the “secret whisper”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and all the laui’a* in the Government should take some time to listen to Olo Fiti Vaai. From our standpoint, he makes so much sense.

And looking at some of the issues he’s raised about several failed government mergers and separations, the Government might as well get rid of all those consultants who are like leeches sucking millions from the poor submissive taxpayers of this country.

Come to think of it, a lot of it has got to do with common sense. You don’t need to be a professor of whatever or a super intelligent laui’a to know that some things are just downright ridiculous.

What does this have to do with Olo? Well during the past few days, a couple of stories featured on the pages of your newspaper based on Olo’s views which demand serious attention.

First was a story titled “M.P. blasts Govt. over poor planning” published in the Sunday Samoan. The story sees Olo questioning the Government over what he described as “poor planning” costing “millions” of taxpayers monies.

"Firstly there is the re-merger of the Ministry of Health and the National Health Services,” Olo pointed out, adding the re-merger became necessarily because the separation “failed.” He’s got a point. The divorce cost the Government more than $30million. Ten years later, the Government has again changed its mind. It’s scary to even think how much the re-marriage is costing.

But that’s not the only “failed” project.

“Then there was the establishment of the National Prosecution Office, separating it from the Attorney General’s Office. Again this failed because it was dissolved two years later,” Olo said. “The N.P.O. was initiated by the Prime Minister. At the time, he noted a number of factors including the need to improve prosecution services and for prosecutions at all levels in Samoa to be conducted uniformly by one office.”

In 2014, legal consultants from the Commonwealth Secretariat were brought to Samoa to come up with a plan.

“They sought opinions from various members of the public sector, the judiciary and the Samoa Law Society. In December 2014, upon the submission of a public proposal and policy, Cabinet endorsed the initiative, and in 2016 the government appointed a Director and a year later this office was dissolved.

“You tell me, how much money was spent on the consultation, the office equipment, the administrations, etc., yet, another loss.”

Still, there is more. Look at the decision to re-merger the Traffic division of the L.T.A. with the Police.

“When the Land Transport Authority was first established, there was a motion to create a Traffic division. I was against it, merely because it is not logical,” Olo said. "The Ministry of Police already has a Traffic division. I warned there would be a duplication of work and having another traffic division will only cost more money.

“And now what? We are back to where it started and it was a stupid move in the first place. The Tuilaepa administration should have just hired more traffic officers for the Police service. It does not take a scientist to figure that out.”

We couldn’t agree more. We can go on but you get our drift. The point is this.

“It is costing the Government millions and these expenses will be carried by the taxpayers,” Olo said, adding that this does not paint a good picture of the ruling Government. “It tells me that Cabinet and its leader cannot conduct proper planning and they are not seeking expert advice to ensure the plans will be successful.”

That was Olo on Sunday.

In yesterday’s Samoa Observer, Olo was at it again in a story titled “Olo calls for urgency from P.M. Tuilaepa's administration.” This time, he wants the Government to act with a sense of urgency in relation to what he described as the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administrations (M.J.C.A.) being in “limbo.”

He referred to the suspension of the Chief Executive Officer, the absence of the President of the Lands and Titles Court and the fact Prime Minister Tuilaepa has yet to hear a “secret whisper” on who to appoint as the Chief Justice.

“Nowhere else in the world you will find the Judiciary in such a situation, where people are leading on a temporary basis,” Olo said. “These are the most important positions with the Judiciary."

But that’s one issue.

Perhaps the more serious question is one about the Government’s influence over Judiciary roles.

“The M.J.C.A. should be able to conduct its own recruitment,” Olo said.

“They should have the authority to conduct its own affairs. And therefore my advice to the new Chief Justice, upon appointment, is to stand tall and fight for independence. This will ensure there is no interference from the executive and legislative branch."

Well said, Olo!

But then we might have to wait a while for the “secret whisper.” Please don’t hold your breath. 

Have a wonderful Thursday Samoa, God bless!

*Laui'a is a Samoan word for a big fish.*

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