APIA: 20 August 2012: The Prime Minister has apologized publicly to tourists and the Samoan public whose travel were disrupted when the road was blocked by Satapuala village last Thursday.
These included tourists who arrived early Thursday morning on the Air New Zealand flight from Auckland who were reportedly held at gun point and questioned by young men who armed the roadblock.
The Prime Minister who was on the same flight, had to take an alternative and longer back road to get home on the advice of the Police.
In a national address since armed Police removed the roadblock and got the heavy machinery to clear the land for the District Hospital on land Satapuala had claimed to be theirs, he said the village had trespassed the land and even erected a roadblock to stop at their will the free travel and terrorized the traveling public using guns which are acts that break the law that the Government will not allow to go unpunished.
Tuilaepa said that clearing and survey of the land for the District Hospital opposite the Faleolo International Airport has progressed “on Government owned land for a project that will benefit not only the whole country.”
“For a country that has celebrated fifty years of freedom and political independence, to have such acts of sedition led by a few matais, is something that Government is seriously looking into as what has happened will happen again if quick and decisive action is not taken immediately.
Then he apologized to the public and “those whose free travel to any corner of Samoa, were affected and whose freedom to move are protected by the laws of Samoa, were affected by the seditious actions of those who were without human control.
The Prime Minister also said that it is inbred curse to have a few matais of a village who hide behind the collective name of a village council, to initiate actions that incite the peace and stability of the country.
He maintained that the traditional authority of the chiefs and orators in the Villages will continue to be the stability of the country. “But,” he warned, “if those who control that power misuse their authority, then that power will be retribution to us all.”
The PM also praised the work of the Police whose experience as UN peacekeepers have kept the situation under control and who also protected themselves under a tense situation.
Satapuala village met last Saturday and through spokesman Muagututia Leao Akripa, have apologized to the country and assured nothing will happen again.
He also said that despite the pain the village has endured from the painful words uttered by the Prime Minister on the media about the village, “we will swallow despite how painful and will also forgive,” said Muagututia with tears in his eyes.
The Deputy Leader of the Tautua Samoa Opposition Party, Aeau Peniamina has expressed concern over the safety of the Prime Minister and why his freedom to move freely was blocked by the village. He felt the Police should have dealt with the situation earlier.
Parliament will be in session Tuesday this week and the Satapuala incident will likely be raised.