‘It’s insulting and disgraceful’
The treatment of the former Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and the Masiofo, Her Highness Filifilia Tamasese by the government is “unacceptable, insulting and disgraceful.”
That’s the opinion of Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, who has called on the government to reconsider its decision to deny the extension of the diplomatic passports for the former Head of State and his Masiofo.
Last week, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said the Government’s decision was final and they would not extend the diplomatic passports as requested.
But the issue does not sit well with Olo Fiti, who said “Tui Atua was Samoa’s King.”
“He is Tama Aiga (royalty) and no matter what the government does the mindset of our people will never change from the fact that Tui Atua is our King and he is royalty,” Olo told the Sunday Samoan.
“Is this how we treat the King who has served in every aspect of the Government? "
“He’s a former Member of Parliament, who led the Opposition, a former Prime Minister and now a former Head of State."
“The move is not only insulting but degrading to say the least, and as a Member of Parliament and a citizen of this county, I am ashamed with how my former Head of State is being treated due to dirty politics."
“I understand there are other diplomatic passports being used by former Members of Parliament which were recently cancelled when the government announced the denial of the extension of the former Head of State’s diplomatic passports."
“The issue at hand is significant, this is Samoa’s former Head of State, and his service has led Samoa to where it is now."
“Is this how the Government repays his long years of service?"
“So set aside the fact that he’s served in numerous capacities of the government, but what about the fact that he is Tama Aiga, does that not mean anything anymore?” asked Olo Fiti.
The Member of Parliament believes this is an internal country issue and the government has the discretion to extend the passport.
“Saying it is longstanding policies put in place in accordance with the United Nation laws, is a load of rubbish,” he said.
“This is our Tama Aiga, he is entitled to these benefits whether the Government likes it or not."
“The entitlement was in affect when Tui Atua was born into this World, why, because he’s Tama Aiga and he is our King."
“How dare the government insult the former Head of State like that?"
“This is not only an insult to their Highnesses but also to the People of Samoa, whose King is being robbed of what he is entitled to.”
The Member of Parliament said the decision should be reversed.
“I will never let this issue go, because Tui Atua is our former Head of State, and if it means signing a petition for an appeal, that is what we will do to remind the Government that Tui Atua is our King and that will never change."