Fiame's life "blessed": P.M.
The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, says his former Deputy, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, has never experienced the discomfort of sleeping on rocks in criticism of his former deputy.
Speaking about Fiame’s departure from his Government and the Human Rights Protection Party on Friday, the Prime Minister was asked to respond to a comment that the country was “on the rocks”.
The question was made in reference to the impact of bills to make the Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) independent, a disagreement over which led to Fiame’s departure.
He was asked to comment on Fiame making stating that the country is on the rocks when she spoke against the Lands & Titles Court (L.T.C.) bills.
“Fiame has never slept on rocks…this is one person who has been blessed in her life," Tuilaepa said in a media programme this week.
"When she was born, she slept on a mattress up until now she sleeps on a mattress."
Tuilaepa said people are different and Fiame’s parents were well-off.
He recalled, by contrast, his days of casting fishing nets in the mid-1970s.
He said his pay was bad and on Fridays he would go fishing, casting his nets on different parts of the island in the evening.
One evening, Tuilaepa said he was so tired he fell asleep and woke to find himself sleeping on the rocks.
Expanding on Fiame’s exit, Tuilaepa said Cabinet ministers, he said, have "a collective responsibility" to stick to the measures agreed upon and that Ministers are not allowed to provide a dissenting opinion.
Fiame's departure from her role as Deputy Prime Minister "is nothing new" and it happens often, for example, in New Zealand, Tuilaepa said.
His Deputy Prime Minister should have listened to him because he is no fool, Tuilaepa said.
"I have served in the Government for a long time and I understand all these things," he added.
Fiame did not work in the Government before becoming a Member of Parliament, Tuilaepa said.
He voiced his displeasure of Fiame going before the people and speaking against the L.T.C. Bills.
If any of his Ministers do stand up and speak against him, Tuilaepa said he will stand up and help them.
"I was loyal to my leader so I expect my ministers, especially my Deputy Prime Minister to be honest," said the Prime Minister.
"We took an oath to God to carry out our duties."