Criticised quartet make appearance at Parliament
The four Independent Members of Parliament who have been absent for the most part of the fourth and fifth weeks of Parliament's final sitting, made their return on Monday.
Despite their absence dominating Parliamentary debate over the past two weeks, the unrest fizzled out when the quartet returned to their seats in Parliament.
Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi leader, Laauli Leuatea Schmidt had been missing in action from Parliament for two weeks as he spearheaded the political party’s roadshows in Savaii.
Lotofaga M.P. Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Urban West M.P., Faumuina Wayne Fong and Salega East M.P., Olo Fiti Vaai missed a full week of Parliament sitting along with a few days of the preceding week, in order to attend the roadshows on the big island.
Their absence was cause for controversy amongst some Parliamentarians who suggested the permanent removal of the quartet from the House.
The four were strongly criticized for “abandoning” their duty to their constituencies by leaving their seats empty during Parliamentary proceedings for a “vacation” in Savaii.
The four were also accused by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi of contempt of Parliament for submitting “misleading” excuses to the Speaker of the House.
Prior to the morning session, Laauli took to social media to greet and notify F.A.S.T. supporters of their imminent participation in Monday's session.
He also took the opportunity to thank supporters in Savaii for their hospitality during the party's two-week roadshow.
“I believe it is time to return to the Parliament meeting that has now been in progress for a month and two weeks,” he said.
“Now that we have completed our work in Savaii, we trust it’s time to enter Parliament again to complete our role in the Parliament of Samoa.”
Following Parliament's sitting on Monday afternoon, Laauli also confirmed that F.A.S.T. will be heading to Aiga-i-le-Tai with their roadshow.
“Our whole party will be in Manono Tai for the roadshow tomorrow at 9 a.m.,” said Laauli.
Last week, Tuilaepa shut down Olo’s claims that it is “a waste of time" staying in Upolu as it is a "strategy" by Tuilaepa to "drag the meeting to keep them (F.A.S.T.) from going out to the villages."
Tuilaepa rejected the claims saying the proceedings are progressing as normal, contrary to the opposition’s beliefs.