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P.M. defends decision on church cancellations

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has defended the Government's decision to enforce the orders under the State of Emergency in relation to the cancellation of church services.

Tuilaepa said the Government has a responsibility to do what is best to protect lives.

The Prime Minister was asked for a comment in response to criticisms from certain church leaders that the Government was abusing its power with regards to the cancellation of Sunday church services.

But Tuilaepa disagreed.

“The responsibilities are clear and the Government’s duty is to do everything for the safety of the lives of the people," he said.

"The duty of the church is to pray for the blessings of the general public.”

Tuilaepa said Government leaders also go to church and they are guided by the Holy Spirit.

“So it’s through the Holy Spirit that guides us especially with certain beliefs and decisions we do for the country.

“So I am very sad about such words which I never expected to come from a pastor."

Tuilaepa said church leaders who are critical of the Government's decisions do not understand.

Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, confirmed that 69 churches breached the S.O.E orders by continuing their usual Sunday services.

The churches comprised of 24 Catholic churches, 19 Congregational Christian Churches of Samoa, 4 Methodist churches, 15 Assembly of God churches and 7 others.

According to Fuiavailiili, the Police is continuing with the 24 hour patrol and will be extra vigilant in assuring that the safety and order is in place for the general public of Samoa.

According to the Prime Minister, as part of the Government’s holy decision, church services will be done through televisions for each churches. He believes the pastors responsibilities stays at praying.

The Government's job is to make decisions for the safety of people.

“It seems he thinks the government should consult him but the government does not ask a pastor for his views."

The Prime Minister said the law allows the Government to do whatever is necessary to protect citizens.  He added that he has forgiven the church leaders who are critical of the Government.


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