Gagaifomauga No.3 elders stand by their M.P.
The elders of the Gagaifomauga No.3. have refuted suggestions by the Prime Minister that their M.P. La'auli Leuatea Schmidt left the Human Rights Protection Party because of his desire to become a leader.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi made the comments during his weekly programme on T.V.1. last week, where he lashed out at not only La'auli, but also the M.P. for Lotofaga, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, the leader of Tautua Samoa Party, Afualo Wood Salele, and former Member of Parliament, Afemata Palusalue Fa'apo II.
He said they all had one thing in common and that is they all wanted to "become leaders."
"They should all form a party for all the wanna be leaders. And everytime they host a meeting, they should take turns in voicing their opinions as they all want to become leaders,” said Tuilaepa.
But the Prime Minister’s comments did not go down well with the elders of La'auli's constituency. Through their village's spokesperson and high chief of the constituency, Seve Avaula, reached out to the Samoa Observer to clear the air and voice their frustration.
"He (Tuilaepa) understands why La'auli left in the first place," Seve told the Samoa Observer. "It all started because of the nonu project. As you may have been aware, this project is helping our constituency a lot.
"So when La'auli became a Minister (for agriculture and fisheries), he was told to leave the project to Peseta Vaifou. But La'auli did not agree to this because he was worried about what we would say if someone else other than him oversaw the nonu project for our constituency.
"So when La'auli came to us after his conversation with Tuilaepa, we told him that the decision was up to him (La'auli). He had to make a choice, whether to agree to what Tuilaepa asked him to do, by leaving the nonu project with Peseta while he focused on his ministerial post.
"We told him that if he's honest with his words and love for the constituency, he would choose us over his post, if not, he would no longer have the backing and support from the constituency.
"La'auli then chose to leave his ministerial post."
Seve acknowledged the sacrifice and the care shown by their M.P. to their constituency over the years.
"Every time something happens to La'auli, he would always come back to the constituency and ask for our opinion before anything else.
"And he takes whatever answer we give him."
Furthermore, Seve used the opportunity to apologise to Samoa on behalf of the constituency, for being so vocal against the P.M. and his leadership.
"The truth is, most are probably questioning why we keep responding to claims by the Prime Minister," Seve added.
"Others might take it that we hate him (Tuilaepa). But that's not it. I personally take my hat off to Tuilaepa and his leadership.
"He has done a lot for Samoa during his time in office.
“But we cannot stay quiet when we see that something is wrong. It is our job to voice our opinions and to stand up for what we believe in.
"We often see and hear the Prime Minister criticising other people, calling them all sorts of bad names. However, he would get offended the minute someone says something bad about him and his family.
"So is he trying to imply that only he can criticise people? That we are not allowed to give him a taste of his own medicine?
"Keep in mind that what goes around, comes around. You cannot treat others like garbage and expect them to treat you like a king.
"We were supporters of the H.R.P.P. before all of this. We started that party with our forefathers.
"However, there are a few things we are not happy about with their leadership."
This includes the new pieces of legislation which proposes monumental changes to Samoa's judiciary, according to Seve.
"As you know, we rejected those three bills because we are worried about our lands.
"We are against L.T.R.A. and those three bills simply because it takes away land ownership.
"It says that we are not allowed to work on our lands that are beyond the 600meters above sea level. Which means that beyond that, are lands belonging to the public.
"And if these three bills are passed into laws, the government will hold the authority over those lands and Samoa will become the other countries whose lands are controlled by the government.
"Some things are not done properly and some decisions are not following the right procedures, this is why we are making a stand.
"This is why we are making noise."