P.M. defends Chinese sailors' entry; attacks Olo

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi says former M.P. Olo Fiti Vaai is a “pathological liar” over comments he made about Cabinet's decision to permit Chinese sailors to enter Samoa.

The Weekend Observer revealed a confidential cabinet document allowed four Chinese nationals to enter the country in August via sea despite border restrictions being in force since the declaration of a national state of emergency in March. 

The Prime Minister strongly defended the Cabinet decision.

“Olo’s claims are always based on lies because he’s a pathological liar. [Olo] should have read the entire Cabinet decision but he only read part because it suits his purposes, which is not the whole truth,” said the Prime Minister on his program with TV1 this week,” said the Prime Minister. 

“The only [Chinese nationals allowed], were those that were on the sea fishing, up four months; they were out at sea ever since the pandemic started.”

Last week, Olo questioned why the Government was allowing foreigners into the country via fishing vessels despite border restrictions being in place, calling the state of emergency a “myth”. 

The confidential cabinet obtained by the Samoa Observer shows that the exemption for the four Chinese nationals followed a request from the Huanan Fishery company. 

That decision is spelt out in a special Cabinet Directive F.K. (20)34, dated 4 August.

During his programme, the Prime Minister defended the Cabinet decision and said the fishermen were out at sea for up to four months and did not encounter anyone affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Prime Minister said the boat in question is one of three fishing companies that employ a lot of Samoans. 

“The photos of the said fishing boats were taken from the satellite when they were out at sea and if they were out at sea up to three months, they are [safer] than people coming in from [other countries],” Tuilaepa said.

“In fact all that the [fishermen] encountered were fishes.”

The Prime Minister claims that Olo has been spreading lies to the community since he entered Parliament. 

“And in return I will use the same medium and correct his false claims given he is well known for spreading lies,” said the Prime Minister.  

The Directive suggests that four Chinese nationals - Honghai Miao, Aiguo Shi, Xiao Wang and Jing Wu - were given the green light to enter the country through a fishing vessel which was exchanging sailors at the dock. 

The directive notes that three Samoan sailors were intended to be swapped with the foreigners at the dock. 

The local sailors are named as Maselino Sauileoge Tifaga, Tomasi Lewis and Siaosi Ponifasio.

Multiple efforts to get a comment from the individuals listed in the FK have been unsuccessful. 

When approached for a comment on Tuesday, Olo laughed and referenced the Cabinet Directive which clearly depicts in his view  "preferential treatment the Government gives to the Chinese people." 

Last week Olo said the Government is not following its own policies. 

“They are also not following their explanations and policies stated in the [state of emergency]; they aren’t,” said Olo. 

“How can the whole country seek to keep the country safe at our borders when fishing vessels are bringing in foreigners?

“Fishing vessels are bringing in Chinese nationals, not through the planes, but they are coming through [...] boats." 




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