F.A.S.T. commits to Savai'i Head of State
The leader of the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) political party, Laauli Leuatea Schmidt, has made a bold promise to the people of Savai'i: a Head of State from the big island.
If they succeed in becoming the next Government, F.A.S.T. promised this week to ensure the dignity of the Tama Aiga families (the nation’s four highest ranking paramount chiefs).
In so doing, they would also ensure that a Head of State and a Member of the Council of Deputies hails from the big island.
The promise was made on Wednesday at a party event in Savai'i where he introduced the party’s candidate and manifesto to local voters.
La'auli told the audience that F.A.S.T. hopes to restore the Samoan cultural respect, which he claimed the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.), has removed from the Tama Aiga title holders.
They are also proposing to overturn amendments made to the constitution to reduce the Head of State’s role to one of two limited terms and instead make it a lifetime role.
The amendments – known as the Head of State Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019 – were passed into law in Parliament last year.
Prior to this constitutional amendment, the Head of State served in office on appointment by the winning party and was approved by Members of Parliament.
Samoa’s Head of State, Highness Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II was appointed to office in July 2017.
Before that his Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, who served for 10 years.
The statement received vocal approval from the audience with loud claps and cheers.
Held at the Apita o Pisaga hall, at Salelologa, hundreds of people from all around the island gathered to hear the party's election and meet with the candidates.
For Savai'i, F.A.S.T. also vowed to deliver on a promise that was made by a former Prime Minister, from Savai'i, the late Tofilau Eti Alesana, who coined the phrase: "What's good for Upolu, is also good for Savai'i."
"The Government has been singing this tune for so long and yet the developments don’t reflect it,” La’auli said.
The party also promised to lift the development of Salelologa township as the centre for business on the big island.
Should the people vote for the party next year, F.A.S.T. is also planning to deduct inter-island fares from $12 to $10 for adults and from $6 to $5 for all students.
The leader became emotional as he read out their plans to amend changes made under the Electoral Act which resulted in one of the six traditional orators of Puleono losing their significance.
(There are six Pules of the traditional Puleono guild of orators of Savai’).
Electoral Act amendments have resulted in Saleaula losing its seat in Parliament.
La'auli cited this as the main issue which led to his being ousted from the ruling H.R.P.P. for voting against the amendments made to the Electoral Act.
The party made a promise that they will fight to bring back the Parliamentary seat of Saleaula (one of the Puleono) and ended his statement by singing the famous, "Puleono i Salafai e," song. The crowd joined in.
Held at the Apita o Pisaga Hall on Wednesday, close to a thousand people congregated to listen and meet with the 55 candidates who have registered with the party.