Tuilaepa calls for calm and unity
The Opposition Leader has called for "calm and unity" as the nation continues to be on Alert Level 3 with 26 positive COVID-19 cases in managed isolation.
The former prime minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, made the call during a special programme with TV 1 on Tuesday night at his residence.
The veteran parliamentarian and leader of the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) had just recovered from the flu after being hospitalised over a week ago.
He called on the nation to "keep calm" and "work together" and commended the Government for declaring a nationwide lockdown, which he said was important as the country now has more than 20 active cases.
Initially beginning his televised address by defining the word "government", Tuilaepa then spoke of the offices that comprise a Government and the freedoms of citizens listed under Samoa's Constitution.
"According to the constitution, the government consists of the Head of States, Cabinet and Parliament," Tuilaepa said.
"I had time while at home resting, to read up the constitution and came across the definition of the government.
"I also had time again to look at the fundamental rights of Samoans as listed under the constitution; freedom of religion, the freedom to express what they feel and their views openly, as long as they don't affect the rights of others.
"The importance of this is that it highlights the true definition of government. That it consists of the Head of State, Cabinet, the different executive members of the different government ministries, and parliament, which, includes the opposition party.
"This means that whatever comes from the Government, we (opposition party) is also part of it.
"Therefore, whatever decision lay down by the Government for the safety of this nation, that is a decision from all of us who are included in Government."
In saying that, Tuilaepa called for "collective responsibility" and citizens working together to stop the spread of virus in Samoa.
"We are now in a very difficult situation which requires a collective effort from everyone," he added. "We shall work together to protect all of us from the disease."
Now is not the time for the "blaming game" and pointing fingers, according to Tuilaepa.
"We need to work in unity; whatever we can do to contribute, we shall all do it. The truth is, we are all at risk.
"Everyone, therefore, we all have a part to play. We should not wait on the government, the doctors, and the ministry of health to tell us what to do.
"If you know your part and what you must do, don't hesitate to do it.
"We can also do it by simply following the rules and measures implemented by the Health ministry and Government.
"Whatever you can do to stop the spread of the disease, do it. Do not wait for someone else to come around and ask you to do it."
Tuilaepa then paid homage to the hard working frontliners in the country, saying the country continues to pray for them and they should be discouraged when going about their work.
"We continue to remember you in our prayers and we encourage you all to keep the faith and do not be discouraged. We understand it isn't easy for you guys, but know that we are with you in spirit.
"Samoa, lest we forget the efforts and the lives of our frontline workers. We must pray for them and at the same time, do what we must do and what we can do from our end to help them and the work that they do.
"We must play our part and do so without having anyone to tell us what to do."
Voicing his support for the Cabinet's decision to impose a nationwide lockdown, Tuilaepa suggested the country should ban all inter-island travel while urging the public to refrain from gathering in public places.
"If the virus is already in Upolu, we must do everything we can to make sure it doesn't reach Savai'i and other islands."
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