Former Police Minister cagey on Police HQ details
The former Police Minister has confirmed the budget for a new Police Headquarters at Salelologa but the M.P. who lost his seat at the April election is otherwise refusing to reveal project details.
Work on the project started last month on a portion of land in Salelologa, Savai'i which will be the site of the new head law enforcement premises for the big island.
In a brief interview with the Samoa Observer in Savai'i, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt said a total of $400,000 has been allocated for the project.
But Ti'alavea refused to discuss the details or answer other queries from this newspaper.
"[But] it will be funded by the Government," he said.
"The clearance and leveling of the land at Salelologa are done by Apia Lua Company, in Savai'i but no tender has been made for the construction work [of the project.]"
The new Police Headquarters is located right next to the new state-of-the-art Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.) Savai'i office is being built.
The multi-million tala Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.) Savai'i office was expected to be completed by January this year. However, the Chief Executive Officer of the S.N.P.F. has yet to clarify the reason behind the delays.
At the moment, the Police headquarters in Savai'i is located at Tuasivi, right next to the Courthouse, near the Malietoa Tanumafili II Tuasivi hospital.
A Police Headquarters at the Salelologa township was left out from a list of Government projects earmarked for the big island, which was outlined in the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) manifesto that was launched prior to this year's April general election.
In May this year, the H.R.P.P. leadership visited Savai'i to launch their manifesto and revealed their plans for the big island.
These included major developments for the Salelologa township, a new hospital and a referral health centre at Salelologa, the building of a branch of the National University of Samoa at Salelologa, and the setting up of a center to house all the Government ministries at Salelologa.
However, the leader of the H.R.P.P. and caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, said at the time that a total of 400 acres has been secured for these major developments at Salelologa.
Other plans for the big island include infrastructure projects, education developments, improving healthcare and community service obligations.
There were also plans to deepen the channel at the Asau wharf in Savai’i and have approved funds for the construction of new school buildings in the country, including a college in Neiafu.
However, there was no mention of a new Police Headquarters to be located at Salelologa.
Discussions on having a police headquarters located at Salelologa have been made in the Parliament in the past years and have been mentioned by the caretaker Prime Minister in a few of his programmes in the previous years.
The idea to have a police headquarters was brought up in Parliament in 2016 by former Cabinet Minister of Finance, and former Member of Parliament, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, which led to a heated exchange between Faumuina and Tuilaepa in Parliament at the time.
The spat happened during the discussion of the 2016-2017 Budget in Parliament when Faumuina questioned the government’s commitment to the development of Savai’i.
Reminding Prime Minister Tuilaepa and his administration of the ruling party's motto "what’s good for Upolu is also good for Savai’i", Faumuina said there was an urgent need to take the development of Salelologa to the next level.
Compared to Upolu, Faumuina said there are hardly any opportunities in Savai’i and this is why most people on the big island have migrated.
Faumuina spoke about the strategic importance of turning the Salelologa wharf into a full-blown international wharf to attract businesses to Savai’i.
“No business would want to move to Salelologa because it’s very expensive to transport goods from Apia to Savai’i,” said Faumuina.
Faumuina then turned to the caretaker Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti who was also the M.P for Salelologa, and urged him to prioritise the development of the Salelologa Township.
He said it would be a waste of another parliament term for M.Ps from the big island if the Government at that time didn't progress work on the Salelologa wharf development.
“Let’s go to Savai’i and establish our own Government because it seems like the Government is being biased in the development of the two islands,” Faumuina said.
Faumuina added that the Government should relocate the key services such as the hospital and the Police office to Salelologa from Tuasivi so that it would become easier for people in Savai’i.