Samoa caretaker PM unaware of FAST take over plans

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Samoa caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says he was not aware the Fa’atuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) was planning a takeover on Thursday, claiming he thought it was going to be a continuation of their negotiations.

Speaking late Thursday on state-owned radio 2AP’s weekly programme, Tuilaepa said he did not know FAST was planning to bring in their “illegally” sworn in Ministers along with the media to capture the transition.

“I thought it was a continuation of our talks that ended with a joke as they refused to do what we had suggested to come to a chiefly conclusion to withdraw our petitions,” he said.

“I asked who was coming and they said it was Laauli [Leuatea Schmidt] and Faualo [Harry Schuster] and their Secretary.

“Fiame eventually said let’s leave it unsolved like this. But we do not do things partly; we do things fully as outlined in the rule of law.”

This comes a few hours after FAST backed down from moving in to the Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinuu II (FMFMII) building in Matagialalua, in order to maintain the peace.

A planned move for the party to walk in to the FMFMII building on Thursday morning to take over offices occupied by the caretaker Cabinet did not go ahead.

A 48-hour deadline given by FAST to the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) administration to vacate the offices expired on Wednesday evening.

Tuilaepa compared the new party’s 48-hour deadline to “holding them at gunpoint”, when he spoke to the TV3 weekly programme on Wednesday evening.

After informing the caretaker Government of their intention to move in on Thursday morning, the party was told that their request would not be accepted.

To maintain the peace, FAST party deputy leader, Laauli Leuatea Schmidt said they decided not to move in as they believe that through humility, victory is won.

The caretaker Prime Minister said a letter he received from the FAST indicated nothing of that sort, and that he had simply replied that he does not have time as his schedule had already been set to attend an event in the morning.

Tuilaepa then criticised the FAST leaders saying the people do not understand the deceptive words that are being delivered to the public to get their way.

“I am appalled that these people continue to be rich with fabricated stories to tell,” he said.

“Like today, he said there have been people terminated from work forcibly, when nothing like that has happened.

“All these allegations are broadcasted to the world and feeding a certain belief. Have you also heard? They said Tuilaepa has signed agreement with China that they will take over Samoa in another 600 years.

“When did we sign such an agreement? No stupid Government would sign such an agreement that would lead to a life of slavery?

“And yet, each year the financial statements outline a list of debts from one country to another and the amount for each one and how it’s serviced. There is no problem with our ability to pay back these debts.”

Tuilaepa reiterated that whilst it is easy for him to concede and take his leave, he cannot do so without making sure necessary steps have been taken to ensure the transition is legitimate under the law.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS