Minister sets the record straight
The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, has clarified he supported the motion moved by Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, to warn Gagaifomauga No. 3 Member of Parliament, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, instead of suspending him.
Contrary to a story titled "Exit a day of drama, division" which said Papali'i supported the recommendation to suspend La'auli, the Minister clarified that he merely accepted the report tabled by the Chairman of the Privileges and Ethics Committee, Nafoitoa Talaimanu Keti.
“I acknowledge and accept the [Committee’s] report and the recommendation for the sake of the integrity of your committee,” Papali'i said when he addressed Parliament on Tuesday.
“La’auli, the only thing I find disappointing, is that I get goosebumps hearing what you say to the Prime Minister. You have to remember that the Prime Minister is the leader of this House; he is the leader of all Members of Parliament.
“Don’t forget the scriptures that we all have to submit to authority. Who is the authority in here? It is our honourable leader. I have noticed that you challenge the leader, I’m sure you are a person who knows the Bible but most of the time I get goosebumps from listening to your statements."
Papali'i acknowledged that La'auli had admitted his mistake.
“With respect to all the speakers this morning, they tend to want to pardon the prisoner but I find it hard to forgive the prisoner given the evidence we have. Nonetheless, I’m grateful that La’auli has admitted his mistake.”
He said this is "a good lesson for Laauli, to refrain from being rude and being disrespectful towards the Prime Minister.
“It is very clear in the scriptures that we are all to submit to the authority. The authority in Parliament is the honourable Prime Minister but the authority we all working for is God.
“I just want to remind you Laauli, since you are insisting on the truth and justice,” Papali’i reiterated.
The Cabinet Minister also noted that La'auli was remorseful.
"We all fellowship with God and we should have the spirit of forgiveness. In saying all that, I support the motion by the Deputy Prime Minister,” Papali'i concluded.