P.M. dismisses infrastructure campaigning accusation
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has scoffed at claims that the Government is using infrastructure openings as a campaign strategy for the April elections.
The allegations were made by Member of Parliament for Salega East, Olo Fiti Va'ai, in Parliament this week citing the opening of six new roads in Savai'i last week as an example.
However, Tuilaepa dismissed the accusation during his weekly programme with the Radio 2AP on Thursday, saying that Olo's comments are "childish opinions."
"He would never understand how things are done because he has been inside (of Cabinet) to know and understand how things are done,” the Prime Minister said.
"That is why he has that mentality.
"Most of these projects are funded by overseas countries and partners, and some of these contracts are out of our control.
"The work must go as scheduled."
Tuilaepa then attacked Samoa's newest political party, the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) and its members.
"They (F.A.S.T.) must have this idea that we (the Government) should not open projects three months before the election. Because they see that it is a campaign,” he said.
"But it is not true.
"The pasese (monetary gift) that we (the Government) present to the villages, is a token of our appreciation as per the Samoan culture.
"Normally, the village prepares gifts for the Government when we travel around to officially open different projects, so it is necessary for us to return the favor by giving them money, as it is part of our culture.
"Those are childish opinions.
"It was so inconsiderate of him (Olo) to say that we should not open projects three months before the election."
Last week, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet were in Savai'i for two days to officially open six new access roads in six different villages in Savai'i.
Tuilaepa was the keynote speaker at all the six different villages.
At the Satuiatua village road opening, Tuilaepa told the gathering that the Government is trying their best to deliver the well-known phrase "what's good for Upolu is also good for Savai'i.'
"I heard that the leader of F.A.S.T., La'auli has announced during their roadshow that we (the Government) are focusing on developments in Upolu and neglecting the island of Savai'i," Tuilaepa said.
"But that is not true. They are out there conducting a roadshow, while we (the Government) are here in Savai'i to conduct road-opening.”