Government lifts ban on Luatuanu’u village youth

Luatuanu’u village MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Lauofo and another village matai leaving the Prime Minister’s office after the meeting

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 11 JULY 2018: The harsh measures imposed by the government on Luatuanu’u village youth following a road block in April this year has been lifted.

The government measures included banning the village rugby team from taking part in any district or national rugby tournaments and disqualified them from employment opportunities in the Regional Seasonal Employment Scheme in New Zealand.

Police were injured from stones thrown while removing the blockade that affected the morning traffic and motorists were forced to turn back to the longer route to Apia through Siumu for their safety.

More than 15 village chiefs from Luatuanu’u, headed by the Memebr of Parliament, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo met with the Prime Minister this week and asked for forgiveness and to reconsider the ban that they thought was too harsh.

Motorists had to wait as the village youth blocked the road last April

After the meeting, the village mayor, Autu Loleiso told Talamua that the government’s ban had major effects on their village.

“The ban initially imposed on us will be uplifted in 2020. It is too long for us, so my village decided to see the Prime Minister and ask for his forgiveness and to reconsider his decision.”

“So we are very happy with the outcome,” said Autu.

Tuilaepa on his weekly media programme with Talamua said the issues were resolved on the matai level.

“This is the kind of case that is resolved using the fa’amatai system of mutual respect,” said Tuilaepa.

“We have reconsidered the decision and I told them to please not to obstruct the police work and the Ali’i and Faipule should be in the forefront to protect our police officers and not to injure them.”

Tuilaepa added he also asked the village council to be very strict on its youth and to summon them regularly during their monthly meetings to advise them on good behaviour.

This week, the ten young men from Luatuanu’u appeared in court for throwing stones, armed with dangerous weapons and obstruction of police work.

They will be sentenced at the end of the month.