Letters to the Editor
Well, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries seems to have been getting a bit of press coverage lately, hasn’t he? According to articles printed by this newspaper, the Minister seems to have been quite busy with matters that (at least as far as I can see) have little to do with his actual Ministerial portfolio. Let’s see, what were those articles about again? Oh, yes. Firstly there was the story that a recently incorporated tour company, apparently owned by some of La’auli’s children, have been granted exclusive rights to conduct tours for the Chinese business-people (oops, I mean tourists) who are now going to be visiting our shores each week. There are going to be two hundred of these visitors each and every week, apparently. Who knew that Chinese business-people were so fond of going to the beach? And who knew that tour operators could even be granted exclusive rights?
Then there was the article about the ferry from Savaii, which apparently was delayed coming back to Upolu after La’auli instructed the Shipping Corporation to hold the scheduled ferry trip for him. (I think the visiting Chinese “delegation” were mentioned somewhere in that article as well – according to the article, the Chinese met with La’auli”s constituency, although I can’t imagine why they would do that). Anyway, members of the travelling public had to wait three hours for the ferry and were understandably upset. The Minister responsible for the ferry service was also understandably upset; he apologised to the public and warned staff that they take orders from him, not other Cabinet Ministers – fair enough. La’auli apparently flatly refused this newspaper’s request for an interview about the matter.
On the front page of the newspaper for Friday 9 June, one of the headlines reads “La’auli slams Samoa Observer over church coverage”. Evidently he isn’t happy that the paper reported issues to do with the local church-owned TV station airing content that is too political. La’auli apparently accused the paper of trying to incite conflict by reporting criticisms by church members of the political content of the TV program Soalepule. Based on the newspaper article, it seems like La’auli has some kind of ownership of Soalepule, which he reportedly referred to as “our program”.
Anyway, personally I find all this a bit worrying. I’m sure that many Samoans voted for FAST because they were tired of political corruption and lack of transparency in government, among other issues. Those Samoans were hoping for a different way of government, but oh dear, I hope we’re not dealing with a classic case of “same horse, different jockey”.
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