Cabinet accepts Fiame's resignation
The Cabinet has accepted the resignation of former Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, whom the Prime Minister has thanked for her decades of public service.
Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi thanked Fiame for her years of service, while confirming she had quit the Government in an address on state-owned media on Friday night.
“We met, and I have her resignation letter to Cabinet effective [Friday] and she intends to be an independent member and has since quit the [Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.)],” he said.
On Friday afternoon, Fiame resigned from her position of Deputy Prime Minister as a result of her concerns about three bills introduced to Parliament by the Government to make Land and Titles Court autonomous.
“The bills came from Cabinet and the truth is if I cannot support the legislation I have to tender my resignation,” she told the Samoa Observer.
But the Prime Minister spoke in praise of his former Deputy in spite of their policy differences.
“I thanked her given her long years of service [alongside] me.” Tuilaepa said.
“If I remember correctly it’s been 20 years since she has been a Cabinet Minister in my administration and [that is] how much I value and trust this public servant. That is the difficult part of a political party and its standing policies.
“I am grateful that she made an honorable decision and it’s understandable why she made that decision and such events occur in the political arena and this is nothing new.”
Fiame, the veteran M.P. for Lotofaga, raised concerns about the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Court Bill 2020 and Judicature Bill 2020 which would create a new, autonomous judicial branch.
She spoke out about the bills at a Special Parliamentary Committee consultation session tasked with seeking public opinion on the changes last week.
Fiame, who has been the M.P. for Lotofaga since 1985, said that her resignation was only from her portfolio in Cabinet and that she intended to continue her duties as a Member of Parliament for her constituency.
Tuilaepa noted Members of Parliament had resigned from office under previous Prime Ministers including Fatialofa Momo’e from Lepa, who resigned and was an outspoken critic of the regulation of alcoholic beverage sales.
“Olo Tapuai was also let go for violating a direct order from the Prime Minister at the time,” Tuilaepa said.
“In 1975 under Tupua Tamasese Lealofi IV two Cabinet Ministers resigned: Samu Saili and Muagututi’a Pinati as a result of reports submitted by [Parliament] Finance Committee.”
Tuilaepa noted that during his time in public office, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, who was the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, had also resigned his post.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the service of Fiame and La’auli and gave them his blessing for their future endeavors.