M.E.S.C. portfolio review underway

The Minister of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.), Loau Keneti Sio, says a review of his Ministry is underway that may lead to its downsizing and shedding its responsibility for sports union and clubs. 

The review could leave M.E.S.C. only with responsibility for school-level sports with no responsibility for sports unions and clubs.

The move is not yet certain but it is certainly “in the pipelines”, he told the Samoa Observer on Monday.

“It’s not really the removal of sports [from the Ministry], no sports will continue with the education because part of education is sports, so there will always be a sports section in the education,” he said.

“But I do not know, with the review that is undergoing right now, there is the higher level, the elite sports which our Government is looking into because the Ministry portfolio is too broad.

“So they are looking into it but actually sports are part of education, there will be sports for kids and there will be a sport section for the higher level.”

Loau said having the whole sporting sector of the country together with the entire education sector is “too wide of a scope” for the Education Minister.

“It’s something the Prime Minister has noticed and now with the two Cabinet Ministers added; but at the moment we do not know where exactly they will be appointed to,” he said.

“So far, our Ministry is also working on the review and the sports section of the Ministry should remain to carry out school sports. That is where the grassroot level is.”

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, revealed last year that the Constitution will be amended to increase the number of Cabinet Ministers from 13 to 15 in the next Parliament sitting.

He said the proposed change reflects the increasing Government workload.

Although a final decision on what portfolios the additional Ministers will get, the Prime Minister revealed the Government is looking at breaking down the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) and the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.).

M.N.R.E. was under former Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, who recently left the Government. Prime Minister Tuilaepa is the Acting Minister of M.N.R.E.

“A sensitive Government reacts to changes,” Tuilaepa said during his weekly media programme. “We cannot have a changing country and still keep the same laws. Laws must be amended to reflect major changes in Government from time to time.

“The goal is efficiency in the implementation of works in response to the needs of the country in terms of protecting lives.”

But the Prime Minister said the proposed change could only happen if the Human Rights Protection Party wins April’s General Election.

“That‘s if we come back,” Tuilaepa said. “There is another group who strongly believe they will be the ones to lead the Government. You’ve got to remember that with those things, it depends on God.”

At the moment, the Cabinet is made up of 12 Ministers plus the Prime Minister.

But Tuilaepa has earlier said that an increase could be on the cards in future.

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