Former Polynesian Air chief accepts election loss

By Sapeer Mayron 14 April 2021, 3:00PM

Fauo’o Fatu Tielu may not have won his race to Parliament in Vaa o Fonoti but he is not despondent about his future.

The former Polynesian Airlines boss says his wife is relieved their lives won’t be disrupted, but he feels sorry for his village that asked him to run.

Though he ran as an independent candidate, he has backed Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.), which ended Election Day with 25 preliminary seats and a chance to run the next Government.

At the F.A.S.T. party headquarters on Friday night, Fauo’o told the Samoa Observer he is encouraged by the result and hopes to see the new party cross the finish line after official results are released, and after the court process takes its course.

“I see F.A.S.T. has a good chance of forming the next Government and I hope there won’t be many court cases, and if they are there they will be resolved quickly,” he said.

“I hope it won’t prolong the formation of a new government. I hope there won’t be any incidents of fighting from the results of the election.”

An accountant by profession, Fauo’o said he’d like to stay involved with the party behind the scenes, helping to develop financial policies or improve transparency and accountability issues.

He said throughout the election process, he realized people still rely on money a lot when they run for government. Constituents demand cash, and candidates supply it, he said, and so a corrupt cycle continues.

“I am very sad that the election process in Samoa is very corrupt, very, very corrupt,” he sighed.

“I don’t know when it will ever stop. I think it will continue to get worse because the younger generation is being taught this type of election process.

“Voters wanted money and candidates gave them money. I see that going on all the time. The money still plays a big part and the more money you have, the more chances you have of winning.

But Fauo’o, who gained just 271 votes while the provisional winner Mau’i Siaosi Puepuemai (H.R.P.P.) got 740, will not be petitioning in the courts.

He said considering how the numbers break down in his constituency, he was not imaging he’d win by a landslide.

“I anticipated that if I won it would be very marginal, though I was hoping to win for the sake of my village that wanted me to run. I think I gave it my best, I didn’t just go to participate, I aimed to win,” he said.

“One of the things that counted against me was that we (Fagaloa) only recently joined the Vaa o Fonoti district. We used to be with the Anoamaa No. 1 but the Government changed the boundaries and moved some villages around,” he said.

“Our village thought we may have a chance of getting a member of Parliament but I think the numbers were against us.

Vaa o Fonoti has 1674 registered voters from nine villages, and the preliminary count suggests nearly 70 per cent showed up to vote. Fauo’o said his village makes up around 300 of those voters.

“My only regret is I feel sorry for my village that wanted me to run. I know some of them didn’t vote for me, even some who wanted me to run.”

Now the result is out, he will begin planning a new path for the next five years, maybe opening an accounting firm or rejoining the airline industry.

“I wasn’t sad with the result. I was happy either way, but my wife is especially happy that I didn’t win,” he said, laughing.

“There is so much disruption in normal life with politics, because people will keep visiting your house, all the time.”

By Sapeer Mayron 14 April 2021, 3:00PM
Samoa Observer

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