Opposition Leader Palusalue Faapo 11
APIA: TUESDAY 27 JANURAY 2014: The Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition Party has been kicked out of parliament indefinitely and stands to lose his perks such as his free vehicle, petrol and salary.
Palusalue Faapo 11 is the first MP to have been kicked out by the Speaker in the current parliament now in its fourth year before the general elections next March.
Palusalue has regularly been criticizing the Speaker as biased, defensive of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in past sessions. When he did the same before the House rose this afternoon, he was close to being kicked out. He only received a stern warning.
He wanted to discuss the Governments responses to the Officers of Parliaments Report that recommended legal action against certain people identified by the Controller and Chief Auditors report for collusion and corruption.
However, as Government has already answered to many of the 58 other reports in today’s session without any suggestions of discussion from the Opposition, this was not accepted.
The Speaker also clarified that despite the many criticisms from the Opposition and the media that it was him who delayed tabling the Auditors Report in parliament, it was him who wrote and instructed the Committee Chairman, Muagututagata Peter Ah Him to review and report back to parliament. He said it seems the plan was for the report to lapse and the content and findings would never have come to light it that had happened.
When parliament reconvened for the evening session, Palusalue was first to get up and apologize to the Speaker for what had transpired in the afternoon session. He also proposed a motion for the House to pass the rest of the reports “so we can go home earlier for the poor conditions of the weather.”
Before accepting Palusalue’s apology, Speaker La’aulialemalietoa Polataivao reminded Palusalue that he as Speaker has been patient all along and what the Opposition Leader seemed to have taken for granted.
“But I reject the motion,” the Speaker ruled. “I have been beaten wrongly for so long by the media that I was the one withholding these reports. And now it’s time for the Government to answer and explain what you have been questioning and you say to pass them enmasse and go home?” the Speaker said.
Palusalue’s fate however, finally came when the Minister of Works, Manu’alesgalala Enokati took the floor. Before he read out his Ministry’s responses to the questions, he apologized to the Speaker on behalf of Palusalue, as both MPs represent the same constituency of Safata.
Palusalue had been outside of parliament at the time and walked in hurriedly when he heard Manu’alesagalala embarking on an apology. After interjecting twice, Palusalue was finally given the floor. He told the Speaker that the Minister has no business to apologize on his behalf.
It was when the Speaker said, “I have given you so many chances, now enough is enough,” and ordered to Sargent of the House to remove the member from parliament.
The Speaker’s ruling did not specify how long and the terms of the members dismissal from parliament.
“I will need to think about it,” he said before the session continued.
Parliament rose about 1000pm having passed all the reports, to reconvene in March.