Independence day celebrations televised only
The 58th Independence Day of Samoa, usually celebrated with large marches, public celebrations and events, will this year be minimised to include televised events only.
The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, said this year’s celebration encourages would need to emphasise the social distancing requirements for coronavirus, imposed by Cabinet.
During his 2AP programme on Friday, the Prime Minister said the decision was made in a special Cabinet meeting earlier that day.
“We have made a programme that at 7am, a ceremony with a prayer will be done by one of the National Council of Churches members, followed by the Head of States remarks from his home in Vailele,” he said.
These will be the only live parts of the celebration.
“After this, the flag will be raised, which is believed to be an old footage from one of the previous independence programmes, as it will all be on T.V., as well as the firing of cannons.”
Tuilaepa says it will just be like a real celebration but only on television.
“After the gun salutes, parades will start and continue to go on for a while. We will see which year had the best parades. That will be followed by selected entertainments from previous years, up until when the flags will be put down again and as usual, there will also be a selected ending prayer,” the Prime Minister said.
“It will seem as it was the real thing as we prioritise the need of social distancing, due to unavoidable circumstances. The Lord will bring more days.”
The state of emergency was recently extended to another four weeks with relaxations allowed including the resumption of churches and certain businesses.
One condition is non-negotiable: to ensure a two metre social distancing rule is adhered to.
Tuilaepa said the reason why Samoa continues to be in a state of emergency is to stay prudent and stay alert in the progress of the pandemic.
“We all want to lift all these things and return to normal but the circumstance is that we may want the yam but problems may follow,” he said.
The state of emergency is scheduled to be lifted by June 2, 2020.
Last year, The Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II, addressed the nation before Member of the Council of the Deputies, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, raised the flag.
The night before, the celebrations were officially opened with a thanksgiving service at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral at Mulivai.
The service was conducted by former Chairman of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Reverend Elder Tautiaga Senara.