Govt. criticised over electric cars push

An elderly member of the public has questioned the Government's decision to offer incentives to encourage people to import electric vehicles. 

Tofilau George Westbrook, of Aleisa, said there was no consultation with relevant stakeholders about the matter and he does not understand why the importation is duty-free and tax-free for two years. Even more important, he believes there are safety issues that should have been addressed first and foremost.

"Parliament has passed the law pertaining to this without even notifying or getting the opinions of the people," the 72-year-old said. 

"They should have given the opportunity to the people to see what they have to say because Samoa never used these types of cars before and so it fairly new to us. I don’t understand how parliament could have passed the importation of those vehicles when we already have these numerous vehicles in the country?

"And those vehicles are very dangerous because it runs on electricity. 

"These types of vehicles should operate under different licenses and to my understanding petrol or diesel cannot be used to run these type of vehicles, it’s totally different," he added 

He argued that the manufacturers of these vehicles should have discussed with the Samoan people on the characteristics, features and effects of electric vehicles. 

Tofilau is strongly against the importation of electric vehicles because he believes that it puts the lives of the people in danger. He went on to say that the government has prioritised Climate Change over the lives of the people. 

"I don’t support the importation of these vehicles because it affects the lives of the Samoan people," he said 

"What if the passengers in the vehicle get electrocuted when something happens? The government is now prioritising climate change, but how about the lives of the people?

"When these vehicles are imported into the country, it’s the Samoan people that will definitely buy it, and for 2 years, these vehicles will be imported into the country; duty-free and tax-free.

"How is that possible? What type of government does that? It’s like climate change is more important than people’s lives."

He questioned parliament for passing the law which allowed the importation of these vehicles saying that there was a failure in the law requirement and he demands an explanation as to why there's a duty-free and a tax-free.

"I don’t hate the government but it’s just that the way the law is made isn’t complete, there’s a failure in the law requirement," Westbrook told the Samoa Observer 

"What the government should’ve done is thoroughly notify and inform the public before bringing it into the country.

"The Prime Minister should explain why there is a duty-free in the importation of electric vehicles?

"I want the government to explain why there’s a duty-free and free of tax with the importation of electric cars when we have never experienced these types of vehicles?"

He made reference to a recent parliament session where no parliamentarian raised it in the session and only Olo Fiti Va'ai raised it that he was against it. 

"I listened to one of the recent parliament sessions, and no one raised this issue and the only person is against this was Olo Vaai," he said 

"How can we deal with the problem that could arise from electric vehicles when we're already dealing with problems with the vehicles that we already have?

"My priority is the lives of the people and not climate change, I don’t know if anyone has ever died of climate change."

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