Former top prisons official switches to F.A.S.T.
The former Assistant Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Prisons and Correctional Services, Maiava Viiga Fuimaono, is contesting the Falealili No. 2 constituency at next year's election.
But this time Maiava will be flying the Fa’atuatua I le Atua Samoa Ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) banner.
In the 2016 general election, Maiava contested under the umbrella of the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.)
“I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon because everyone is on it,” he told the Samoa Observer.
“I don’t want to follow someone else’s track and I am always up for a challenge. Entering the political arena has been my long term dream.
“Running for public office is not something that was decided last minute. I thought it through and decided to try again. The Lord has blessed me with a good life with my career and my family.”
Maiava told the Samoa Observer that he’s fortunate to have a “privileged life” especially coming from Salani Falealili and having access to higher education which pretty much leads to a successful life.
“I was exposed to all sorts of opportunities and I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity in my lifetime and I feel obligated to make sure the opportunities are afforded to the younger generation and it was afforded to me,” he added.
Maiava added that nothing is impossible.
“And even if they get the opportunity and fail, at least they attempted to take this route in life. No one can tell you that you cannot fulfil your goals in life and I want the young generation to see that. They need to know that if they don’t succeed in one aspect, their life does mean they can look at themselves as failures,” he said.
“Failing is not failing unless you fall and stay down and never get up. So that is the message I want to deliver to young people.”
He said education is the key to success.
“Your options and opportunities are limited without education, and having an education gives you a wider window of opportunities,” he said.
Another aspect of his platform is serving his constituency through his skills as a counsellor.
Maiava was the former Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young University and also has an Advanced Diploma in Executive Management from the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia.
In March, Maiava resigned following a disagreement with the Police and Prisons Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, shortly after the latter and the Police took over responsibility for the management of prisons.
The Prisons Minister, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, said that an ill-considered light-hearted remark made in the wake of a March 23 Tanumalala Prison breakout by 29 prisoners led to his departure.
“I forgive him,” Maiava said during an interview with the Samoa Observer, where he broke his silence over his departure.
“What happened to me was devastating,” said Maiava. “I was at my lowest point, but I have chosen to move on from here and leave the past where it is.”
He had worked at the prison for one year.
A total of 29 prisoners escaped the facility which led to the resignation of the Commissioner of Corrections, Taitosaua Edward Winterstein.
A Samoan translator and interpreter, Maiava also served in Solomon’s Islands as the first Assistant to Mission President for the L.D.S. for the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission.