Drink-driving M.P. apologises

The Cabinet Minister-elect who was stood down after being arrested for drink driving, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, has apologised to his party and its leader, Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mataafa.  

Toeolesulusulu resigned from the incoming Cabinet on Thursday after being charged and detained with driving while under the influence of alcohol on Tuesday. 

He was sworn in on Monday last week, into a Ministerial portfolio that included charge over the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (M.N.R.E.) and the Planning and Urban Management Agency. 

Toeolesulusulu personally apologised to Fiame and his Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party in a formal letter of resignation that was circulated on Friday. 

He noted that the incident had damaged the party, which currently has a lead of just one seat on the Legislative Assembly floor. 

“I want to extend my sincerest apologies for the circumstances that eventuated and how this has affected not only your good name but that of our F.A.S.T. family,” said Toeolesulusulu in his letter to Fiame. 

The Aana Alofi No. 4 Member of Parliament expressed gratitude to Fiame for displaying confidence in his abilities but said his pending case would prove a distraction to the party’s mission. 

“Due to the pending case against myself regarding driving under the influence, I hereby wish to tender my resignation as a Member of the Cabinet,” said Toeolesulusulu.

Fiame, speaking during a live broadcast directly on social media on Thursday night, announced Toeolesulusulu would be stepping down because of F.A.S.T.’s commitment to upholding the rule of law. 

A copy of Toeolesulusulu's official Police mugshot began to circulate on social media this week. The Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, said the employee who had leaked the image had been identified and would be subject to internal and possibly criminal punishment. 

Toeolesulusulu will remain a Member of Parliament affiliated with the F.A.S.T. party while his case is proceeding. 

He was arrested and charged after driving home from a celebration at the party's headquarters on Tuesday after leaving an event to commemorate Independence Day as well as the anniversary of the party’s founding. 

Fiame accepted his resignation and said her party will await the outcome of the court case. 

“We will await the decision by the court on this matter,” said Fiame.

In his letter Toeolesulusulu concluded by continuing to pledge his “full support to [Fiame’s] leadership and to [his] F.A.S.T. family.”

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