F.A.S.T. roadshow a foreign practice: P.M. Tuilaepa
The Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi's (F.A.S.T.) election roadshow has been dubbed "a foreign practice" by Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.
The Prime Minister also criticised the campaign methods rolled out by Samoa's newest political party, saying F.A.S.T. is showing "Trump-like behavior" during his weekly program on Radio 2AP on Thursday.
Three months out from the general election, F.A.S.T. kicked off their election roadshow on Tuesday this week, with the hope to gather views from the community to better the party's manifesto that is going to be launched in March.
When Tuilaepa's opinion was sought on the matter, he said jokingly: "That is new!"
"That political party (F.A.S.T.) has come up with relatively new actions and behaviors. They may be new, but they have set new records.
"Yet, they are not an official party inside Parliament."
Tuilaepa then turned around and criticise the banners and billboards put up all around the country by the political party to introduce their candidates.
Tuilaepa said putting up billboards and banners are not necessary as "they don't make decisions for the country."
"I can see that they are flying their banners all around town and putting up billboards as if those banners and billboards will make decisions for the Government.
"I have been asked about why we (H.R.P.P.) don't have banners and billboards ahead of the general election. But my answer is those banners and billboards don't make the decision for this country.
"But we stick to the traditional way of making announcements and advertisement within the villages and districts. We rely on the knowledge and wisdom of the matai and the chosen representative of each district to explain to them our goals and vision.
"There is no need to have big pictures and advertisements to show the whole world who the candidates are and why they should vote for each particular candidate.
"Such practice exists in foreign countries and they are imitating the behavior of politicians in overseas countries."
The P.M. went on to claim that the campaign methods of the F.A.S.T. party clearly showed that they are trying to turn Samoa into a foreign country.
He then made reference to how the party uses both the Israel and Samoan flags all the time.
"This is shown in the flags they use. When you are in Samoa, the only flag you should raise is the national flag of Samoa. It is the only flag used by our ruling Government."
Turning back to the party's election roadshow, Tuilaepa said: "Why should they go out and ask the districts? That is why we have Members of Parliaments and village mayors. They raise concerns from the different villages around the country.
"So there is no need to go out in the villages and ask for the people's opinion on different matters.
"The other thing is, why should an M.P. from a constituency in Savai'i visit a constituency in Upolu about their needs and wants and their opinions?
"Those are Trump-like behaviors. That is what Donald Trump did and they are imitating that.
"I do not understand the meaning of this and the motive behind their roadshow. Maybe something is wrong with their way of thinking."
F.A.S.T. party's first stop for their election roadshow was 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.
La’auli Leuatea Schmidt, Chairman of F.A.S.T. 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.