The Human Rights Protection Party

What is Good for Apia is also good for Savaii!
"O le mea e lelei i Apia, e lelei foi mo Savaii"

Jul 16

“Man of the Decade” Award misplaced

By Tupuola Terry Tavita

PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Samoa Observer’s Person of the Decade Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi thinks that perhaps a mistake had been made in awarding him the daily’s top award last year.

This week, the Savali caught up with the Prime Minister.

“I was indeed humbled by the honour,” said Tuilaepa.

“So very naturally, I whistled our national anthem, then paused when I realised that the unique qualities set out by the Samoa Observer for winning the top award certainly doesn’t befit me.

“Namely – as said by the Observer editor – that I must believe that I am the anointed one, that I never err, and that all my thoughts are divinely-inspired and therefore no one should be in the way. This led me to conclude that a mistake may have been made in their selection.

“You see Terry, I have made many many many mistakes of judgement. But I do not make it a habit singing aloud my mistakes for everyone to listen to.  Also, I have never met God in person to claim that my thoughts were ever divinely-inspired.  Neither do I remember ever claiming that I was the anointed leader.

“Since I do not possess any of these aspiring and wonderful high standards of excellence, I therefore consider that I am not worthy to be confirmed the divine honour of being the man-of-the-decade.

“You see, we are all human with human fallibles and imperfections.  But as elected leaders, we have a job vested in us by the country to improve people’s lives and livelihoods.  Government policies and bills sent to Parliament are researched and drawn up by those in the public service who are experts in their own right in those particular fields, but also seek public opinion and host public consultation processes before a bill is sent to Parliament.

“There is another series of public consultations during the Parliamentary process before the bill is returned to the House for final passage to law.  And it does not end there.  If the law is implemented and government sees that it has some weaknesses that need changes, it goes back to the House for amendments.

“I often remind the Opposition – both inside and outside the House – that their role in questioning and advising government policy is very important in designing and determining the best policies for the country.

“The media plays an importantly role at this stage in publishing feedbacks.  We do not disregard opposing views.  In fact, we embrace them.

“That is why when I go to Parliament I adamantly argue for these bills and any amendments thereon because I know they have been formulated by experts, have gone through the consultation processes and, more importantly, will be good for the country.

“Perhaps the thinking that I think I am right all the time stems from opposition frustration in the House.  When conceding, some of them (Opposition members) grumble that Tuilaepa thinks that he is right all the time.  Somehow – through the years – this mentality has grown legs and walked out of the House and has been adopted by the journalists ever since.

“I made it very very clear to the Samoa Observer editors during their interview for their awards that the real secret to successful HRPP government is the excellent working relationship between Cabinet and a highly educated public service.  Its team work.

“Also I do not speak directly to God.  Though several people occasionally turn up at my office telling me they have been told by God to tell me to do this and that.

“However, the bible clearly spells out what God wants us to do, the Christian values we should possess  and the guiding principles we should uphold.  The path is there for all Christians – leaders and people alike – to follow.

“However, there were times during the heat of election campaigns when I tell the caucus that the seats we hold are not ours by choice.  That we don’t elect ourselves.  Leave it to the country to decide, and therein, is God’s wishes.  I do this to calm the caucus, to lift their morale.  But some continue to be restless and go out and do illegal activities, which, after elections they are convicted of and end up losing their seats.

“In saying that, I am humbled nevertheless that the Observer should choose to bestow on me their award above other much worthier candidates for their person of the decade.”

Author: Savali
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