Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
By Rula Su’a – Vaai
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2018: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi has stopped a move to send two policemen as his security guard following an attack on him while he was speaking at the launch of the Samoa Airways inaugural flight to Brisbane last night.
The Acting Prime Minister, Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama told Talamua that the Prime Minister had assured him that he is safe and there is no need for such a move.
“I spoke to the Prime Minister and informed him of our plan, but he said no, he is safe, and that those who attempted to attack him are none other than our own people.”
According to the Acting Prime Minister, Tuilaepa also mentioned that the media had blown the incident out of proportion.
However a video of the incident shows Tuilaepa speaking when a man’s voice shouted Tuilaepa’s name and issuing verbal abuse. The Samoan media who covered the event reported that eggs and meat were also thrown including a pigs’ head that fell short of where the PM was standing.
According to Tuitama, there is no national protocol that a police guard should travel with the Prime Minister.
“There is no such protocol, unless there is a need. Internationally, we request such service and they will provide, if we don’t ask, they will not provide it.”
Tuitama also added that Samoa’s Consular in Australia is working with the police authorities in Brisbane on the matter.
The Prime Ministers’ office in Apia issued a statement late today saying “the Prime Minister and his delegation are safe, in good spirits and will continue on to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meeting in Papua New Guinea which will take place from 17-18 November.”
Over the last twelve months, Tuilaepa has been the target of hate messages on social media from Samoans in major cities in Australia.
He is the first Samoan Prime Minister to have received such treatment.