Prison project sets wrong example, Faumuina says

The Government's decision to allow the construction of the Vaiaata prison without approval sets a bad example for the people of Samoa.

That's the view of independent Member of Parliament, Faumuina Wayne Fong.

The Samoa Observer revealed on Saturday, the project, which began in March, was only given the approval to commence in November 2019.

Last month, the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (M.W.T.I.) stopped the construction of the $800,000 Project in Savai’i due to the absence of a permit.

"That's the thing, the [M.W.T.I.] is always intervening in the building of families, even when if it is just an outside kitchen, saying they want the blueprint, the consent and the permit from P.U.M.A., and yet, it is nothing compared to this,” said Faumuina.

"I bet with the people of the nation now, they are thinking they should also be building our homes without permits since the Government is also building without permits."

The decision to halt construction was confirmed by the M.W.T.I. Minister, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang.

The Minister of Police and Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, also confirmed that the works on the project have been stopped saying he was of the view that working without a permit was “not illegal.”

Faumuina relayed his thanks to the Minister of Works, Transportation and Infrastructure (M.W.T.I.), Papali'i for ceasing the continuation of the Vaia’ata prison facility construction.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Faumuina said he is thankful that a Minister is able to stand in truthful in the face of these unlawful practices.

"If Papali'i hadn't stood up for this then they would have continued with it without a permit which is illegal," he said.

"There is no intention of discrediting Government projects. There are laws and policies in place to be followed and remember they are the ones who male these laws. So they should not be the ones to break it.

"We thank Papali'i for stopping the project but there are many other projects running illegal that we don't know of under the sole guidance of Cabinet and Prime Minister."

Faumuina said that he understands the Government is pushing for the development of Samoa, however, the proper processes need to be taken.

The M.P. highlighted that the major contradiction of the project is that it is under the Ministry of Police and Prisons, an entity that "must" enforce the law.

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