F.A.S.T. kicks off election roadshow
The Faatuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party is kicking off the new year with a roadshow event starting Tuesday, three months out from the national election.
The party's first stop will be at Aleipata I le Itupa I Lalo. It will then make its way through Anoama’a and the rest of Upolu by the end of January.
The event will bring all 50 F.A.S.T. candidates to an open forum with their respective village communities in each constituency.
On Monday, the party’s leader, La’auli Leuatea Schmidt, said the consultations will contribute towards building the party’s final manifesto, which is expected to be launched in March.
A roadshow for Savai’i will follow in February, starting in Fa’asaleleaga, moving towards the Itu o Tane and all over the big island.
La’auli said that the spirit of the roadshow is not to engage only with chiefs and village council members.
Instead, the party has planned a specific time to be allocated in each community for consultation sessions encompassing young people, church ministers, and the village’s women’s committee.
“We aim to [...speak] to the wider scope of eligible voters in all constituencies including ministers, chiefs, women’s committees as well as all the youth who are eligible to vote,” La’auli said.
“That’s the whole concept. It’s an open forum [seeking any...] views and advice they might have for the manifesto of the party.”
An earlier draft of F.A.S.T.’s manifesto published at a major event last year was just the beginning of the party’s election platform, La’auli said. The opposition party’s founder says it is continuing to solicit feedback from the public and incorporate it into its long-term policy vision.
“It’s all part of building up the last manifesto [which] will be tabled to the nation in March, before the election,” La’auli said.
“But right now, we are still collecting; we have to make sure that Samoan voters’ voices are included, whether it be for health, environment, education, economy, agriculture, fisheries […] as well as crime and violence; it is for whoever has something to say.”
Late last year, the party hosted a series of workshops with various focus groups in an attempt to seek out their opinions, ideas, and what they would want from a future Government.
According to La’auli, the workshops resulted in many “good views” and fresh opinions, especially from groups of younger people the political party met, as well as people with disabilities.
“Views continue being added onto the manifesto and because not everyone joined the programmes at the Maota, now we will go directly into the villages and constituencies,” he said.
Laauli said that the objective of the tour is for everyone’s voice to be acknowledged and to ask constituents: “What do they want; what do they expect?”
Specifically with younger voters, La’auli said the party is most interested in the availability and accessibility of employment, locally and overseas.
Another recurring theme was inclusiveness, La’auli said; young people had often expressed views on the need to be included in all avenues including religion, culture and politics.
La’auli concludes that their demands to be included must be met: “Their time will come when they also have to lead”.