Leanapapa challenges P.M. Tuilaepa
A former Member of Parliament, Leanapapa Lucky Anderson, has challenged Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi to walk the talk when he talks about making sacrifices.
Speaking during an interview with the Samoa Observer, the Owner of the Aiaiava Bus Company said Tuilaepa should sacrifice part of his salary, some of perks he receives and give it to the people who need it most during a time of crisis.
"I watched him on television,” Leanapapa said.
“He keeps telling us to make a sacrifice. Now that pains me because I’ve lost a lot of income as a bus company owner since the Government banned all the buses. That is my sacrifice. What about him?
"We don’t have any side jobs and any other means of making money unlike Tuilaepa who knows he is going to get paid regardless.”
While Leanapapa does not oppose the S.O.E., he said the impact of the lockdown on businesses like his has been enormous.
"We have had to sacrifice,” Leanapapa said.
“Then the Government leaders should also sacrifice as they're the leaders. The sacrifice should start from them. They should start by rejecting the extra payments they receive on top of their salaries and give it to the people who need food and money right now.
“There are people who have no jobs and no other means to feed their families.”
Leanapapa said he is hopeful that the Government would allow buses to operate soon. He has had to lay off six workers since the S.O.E.
But in the case that doesn’t happen, the 69-year-old is calling for the Government to subsidise businesses and workers who have been affected.
Referring to a donation of US$5.1 million from the World Bank to help Samoa deal with the virus, Leanapapa said part of this money should be given to help the business community.
“We’ve lost so much business since the lockdown and we'd appreciate it if our leaders can start the sacrifice and not say such things that hurt us. What other sacrifice do they want? We already have.”
The former M.P. acknowledges that he supports the S.O.E. as a precaution measure.
But he called on Prime Minister Tuilaepa to be sensitive about what he says in the media.
It was not possible to get a comment from Tuilaepa before press time.