PHOTO: Gagaifomauga No.3 MP, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao with village chiefs Polataivao Pouvalu Aumua and orator Seve Avaula Panapa and district supporters at todays’ press conference
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2019: The electoral constituency of former Cabinet Minister and former Speaker, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao today reaffirmed their full backing of their MP and for him to serve the remaining two years in Parliament with the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.
The decision was made at the district meeting with the MP on Monday this week then conveyed by their representatives at a press conference today.
“You were elected to serve the Human Rights Protection Party that was formed by our forefathers until the term is over, then we deliberate again,” said Polataivao Pouvalu Aumua, one of the two representatives who spoke on behalf of the district.
He said the district cannot forsake the political party they helped formed and served throughout the years.
It is the latest development after La’auli voted against the government in three major constitutional amendments and prompted the Prime Minister to announce that the party had accepted La’aulis’ resignation.
The Prime Minister also said La’auli had left the party on his own free will and that he had not been attending caucus meetings, hence the ‘caucus’ decision that was conveyed by letter.
Last week La’auli broke his silence and emphasized in the media that he had not resigned and that he will not resign until he conferred with his district “those who hold the authority over my election as their representative in Parliament.”
La’auli met his district on Monday this week and district representatives today conveyed that decision in a press conference.
“La’auli’s decision to oppose the amendment is also the decision of the district, because it does not sit well with us the fact that one parliamentary seat for Savai’i has been removed, while three seats are added to Upolu,” said orator Seve Avaula Panapa.
He also reminded of HRPP’s motto that “what is good for Upolu is also good for Savai’i and removing of one parliamentary seat from Savai’i has tipped the scale.”
The district is also not intimidated if La’auli is banned from attending any future HRPP caucus meetings.
“If that is a decision by the Prime Minister not to accept our MP in caucus meetings, then let him remain in there as our MP to serve our constituency but save the expenses of any by-election as it will be a waste of time and money as Laauli will reelected,” said Seve.
Polataivao Pouvalu Aumua, reiterated the importance of Seve’s words then made a point about La’auli opposing other amendments before.
He said La’auli had previously opposed governments’ decisions such as the demolition of the old Parliament house, and at the time, he was the Speaker and a member of HRPP, yet nothing was done to him then.
La’auli is also questioned why he has been treated differently from other HRPP members he knew had done worse things than what that is now singling him out.
Caucus Decision Pending
La’auli pointed out that he respects Tuilaepa and if his decision is for him not to attend caucus meetings, then so be it.
“I believe that decision was made by the leader of the Party and some of the Executive members, but Caucus has yet to meet on the issue. If Caucus decides against me, then I will say no more,” said La’auli.
He said he will respect the decision but it will not affect the districts support of HRPP.