Inter-island ferry service ready for election: Leiataua
Samoa Shipping Corporation is prepared to assist with the logistics of moving voters to Savai’i if the snap election announced by the Head of State for 21 May goes ahead.
The S.S.C. Chief Executive Officer, Leiataua Samuel Phineas, told the Samoa Observer that it would be business as usual for their inter–island ferry service just like last month’s general election.
"Shipping services have been prepared for the 21st (of May) election which is on schedule by next week, the same preparation we did on the 9th of April election,” Leiataua said in an email reply to questions sent by the Samoa Observer.
“Two big vessels (Lady Samoa 3 and Samoa Express) additionally the two small vessels (Samoa Express 1 and Fotu o Samoa 2) for inter–island traveling.”
The 21 May snap election, which was announced by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II last Tuesday, will only be one-day polling.
Leiataua acknowledged the one-day polling and added that their vessels are ready for an early start next Friday.
“Since the election is a one-day event right from the start till late evening, the expectation is to start earlier and finish by late evening, the services are more than ready for anything to happen and we have prepared for it.”
Last month Leiataua expressed concern that Savai-i voters living on Upolu left their travel until the eleventh hour before making their way to the big way and urged them to plan ahead in order to avoid long queues at the Mulifanua and Salelologa wharves.
This time around the C.E.O. said they hope only the voters will travel and not be accompanied by their whole family.
"We believe by next week's election the numbers of people showing up will be increased which the only ones who will be expected to travel are the ones who are casting their vote.
“But not bringing the whole family because that's what we have seen in the last election running.”
According to Leiataua, the revenue that the corporation generated from the inter–island ferry service during last month’s general election was not much, which he blamed on the rising cost of equipment to guarantee the safety of their passengers.
The declaration by the Head of State last Tuesday – which revoked the April 9 general election result and called for a fresh election on 21 May – is now the subject of Supreme Court proceedings initiated by the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party.
The party is arguing that the Head of State’s declaration last Tuesday was unlawful and unconstitutional with the matter returning to court this Thursday.