M.P. objects and says “we are laui’a” too

A senior Member of Parliament and a former Cabinet Minister received a stern rebuke from a first term Member of Parliament and the representative for Vaimauga East, Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa, last week.

Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, Member of Parliament for Palauli le Falefa and former Minister of Finance, was speaking about the budget when he said he does not mind the interventions from Members of Parliament, especially the new ones.

“I don’t get offended,” Fauimuina said. “I understand that they are new members who are trying to learn the ropes.”

The veteran Member of Parliament pointed out that “there is a school where they (new members) can be taught.”

But this did not sit well with Sulumaiana who objected and asked for comments from Faumuina to be removed from Parliament hansard.

“Mr. Speaker, I object to the use of these words. Please remove these statements from that hansard that we are trainees,” Sulamanaia said.

“No we are laui’a (big fish), we were chosen by our constituencies based on merits. They have faith in us.”

The Vaimauga East M.P. also took Faumuina to task over his constituency’s decision to reject a delegation from the Government.

The incident happened when the delegation, led by former Associate Minister of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.), Tofa Lio Foleni, officials had arrived at Gataivai to begin a two-day consultation on the Government’s developments for the villages.

M.P. Faumuina was part of the delegation that was asked to leave.

According to Sulamanaia, Members of Parliament should lead by example to ensure the villages work with the Government.

“That’s why we are saying, if we are rejecting the Government from coming into our villages, how can the government do its work?” Sulamanaia said.

“That’s why I brought it up because it was publicised that this member’s constituency rejected the government delegation.”

The Vaimauga East M.P. added that this is why he objects to Faumuina referring to new members as trainees.

“I object to the use of the term “we are new members trying to learn the ropes.” This is not correct. We came here on our own merits; we are laui’a chosen by our constituencies.”

Faumuina did not respond to Sulamanaia’s request for his comments to be removed from official Parliament records.

But he clarified his constituency’s decision.

“My constituency did not reject the Government proggramme,” he said.

“All my constituency wanted was for developments to be in zinc, not to cross over each other.

“The constituency hadn’t discussed the developments it wanted and to what to do in terms of priority.”

When the incident surfaced, a senior chief of Palauli le Falefa, Laulu Tiatia Mapesone, told the Samoa Observer the Government delegation did not come through the proper channels of communications.

He accused the Government of overstepping the boundary by using the Women’s Committee to promote their “agenda” – which he said was not just about small developments in the villages.

The Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development refuted Laulu's claims in a press statement.

“The Government – through the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development – strongly denies unfounded claims that the Government has overstepped the boundary of central government and the constituency of Palauli I Falefa…

“It is not true and it is a lie that there was no communication, and that the villages of the constituency were not informed about the programme from the Ministry for the development of the villages.

“All five villages of the constituency that includes, Sili, Gataitavai, Papa and Puleia were informed through their village mayor, the women representative and the Member of Parliament in relation to the programme to establish a guideline for the development of the constituency.”

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