PM responds to public criticism of Manu Samoa donation

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi has responded to criticism of a recent generous donation to the Manu Samoa World Cup Campaign by the American Samoa government, saying the gift only reflects the governments' mutual respect. 

“We are one,” the Prime Minister said during his weekly media programme, in response to questions about social media criticism of last week's donation.  

The Prime Minister said the $250,000 plus the American Samoa Government donated is a sign of Samoa's healthy and strong relationship with the U.S. territory. 

He recalled a previous episode, in 1997, at a time when this country was called Western Samoa, as a reflection on the nature of relations.

“Samoa proposed to change its name from Western Samoa to Samoa and this was in line with other countries having just one name, such as Britain, Germany, Portugal and Australia," the Prime Minister said. 

“The name Western Samoa had the unspoken feeling of colonialism ringing behind it and it was due time that it is changed to Samoa. 

However two Senators from American Samoa came to express disappointment. 

“Their stance was that American Samoa should have been consulted because, despite it being American Samoa, it has the name Samoa. 

"And although it was hard to accept their complaint, their concerns were valid. 

“Samoans are one." 

He noted that, in the long run, when American Samoa does become an independent state and retains a seat on the World Trade Organisation, Samoa (despite being two separate counties) will have two voices.

“And that is something only intelligent leaders will understand," he said. "Leaders who have foresight and considering the future generation.

“I pray the ties between the two governments will remain steadfast in the coming years. 

“Also: criticism is a sign of a healthy democratic country and it is their right to utter their disappointment."

He reiterated that Samoans are one and the Manu Samoa will carry the name of Samoa and American Samoa at the world stage. 

Last week Governor Lolo wrote to his subordinates in government defending the donation.

“As leaders we look at the bigger picture and we eye the future to determine actions we must take," he said. 

"The donations and monetary contribution we made reflect our investments in the future prosperity of our territory and the sustainability of our quality of life improvement campaign."

In his letter, Lolo said he has no “misgivings as well about the criticisms generated by our community, but we as leaders must do the necessary to ensure that our plans and strategies for the development of our territory are advanced".

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