First time candidate obeys village call
A 69-year-old first time General Election candidate is excited about the challenge ahead.
Fuiono Tenina Crichton, of Falealupo, Savai'i, is a candidate for F.A.S.T. and will be looking to become the village's next Member of Parliament after incumbent Member of Parliament, A'eau Peniamina Leavai, decided to run again.
Asked what inspired his decision, Fuiono said he was merely following the wishes of the elders of the constituency.
"I didn't think I would join the political race of the country, however, I am obeying the wishes of my village. They were the ones who asked me to run in the election," he said.
Queried about his decision to fly the F.A.S.T.'s banner, Fuiono said the village's objection of the L.T.C. bills is one major reason why he refused to join the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.
The village of Falealupo met with the Special Parliamentary Committee in July this year, and Fuiono led the village's submission opposing the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Court Bill 2020, and Judicature Bill 2020.
"As you know, the village of Falealupo has always been on the opposition side in Parliament," he said.
"It has been that way for so many years. And after the village met with the other candidates, we discovered that those two candidates have both registered with the ruling Human Rights Protection Party. That is why the matai has asked me to contest.
"I humbly accepted their request which is why I am running. But to be very honest, I never thought I would contest in a general election.
"We also rejected the three bills that the government proposed, and I can't join the government after I led the village's submission against those bills.
"We stand by our decision that those bills are a threat to what our elders fought for. And as I told you before, that was not an easy decision to make. The decision to reject the bills was not something we made overnight."
As a novice to the political arena, the father-of-seven, said the support and prayers of his families and village are what gives him strength and courage.
"I am aware that contesting in a general election is not easy," he said. "But I am confident that with the Lord at the forefront and the continuous support and prayers of my families and village, I am feeling very positive and confident in my preparations.
"If it is His will; let his will be done."
Asked for his plans, should the people vote for him to be the M.P. for Falealupo, Fuiono said: "I don't have a list of promises to make to the people. What I do promise is that I will focus my strength and knowledge on developing the families within the constituency.
"If I win, it won't be my decision to make. I will always seek the opinions of the village and constituency and ask them what they need and what we should prioritise."
However, Fuiono reveals that there are two areas that need to be improved.
"The first problem some families continue to face is not having access to the water supply. For so many years, we've been asking the government to work on making sure that every household has access to a clean water supply.
"We need water in order to survive, so it is a must that we make sure every family in the country has access to water supply."
Infrastructure in Falealupo is another area that needs improvements, according to Fuiono.
"We depend heavily on agriculture to earn money," he told the Samoa Observer. "Our village is far from town and far from Apia, there aren't many employment opportunities available at Falealupo. Therefore, we work the land and depend heavily on the land for food and income.
"So there is a need to have good quality roads that will take us to the plantation and also encourage our people to keep working."