Satapuala MP investigated – may face criminal charges

MP Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster under investigation

APIA: 21 August 2012: The Aana Alofi No.3. Member of Parliament, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster may face criminal charges if his role in blocking the public road at Satapuala near the airport last Thursday can been proven by Police.

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, in a Ministerial Statement in Parliament this morning, moved that the matter be submitted to the Attorney Generals office for investigation and to lay relevant charges.

Tuilaepa told Parliament that he was saddened that the illegal actions by some of the village matais and untitled men were led by the MP and Leao Akeripa (a matai of the village).

He explained the scene at Satapuala when he himself arrived early Thursday morning from New Zealand “and the passengers were stopped at gunpoint by armed men with their faces covered and directed by some matais who would allow or deny passage of the traveling public.

“They flashed lights in the passengers faces and cars as if they were looking for someone in particular to vent their anger.

“The roadblock delayed not only those traveling from overseas who witnessed such ugly scenes, but people traveling from Savai’i, the travelling public and delayed returning flights to New Zealand due to disorderly behaviour fueled by high mindedness.”

He said the roadblock also affected church ministers who were traveling for a dedication at Sili village in Savaii, and also affected the Chief Justice and the Speaker of Parliament who were travelling to the ceremony.

“Even the government leaders were affected but such disorderly behaviour.”

The PM said only a few of the village took part “who were filmed on TV and radio and exposed their weaknesses, to the detriment of the good name of the village.”

He explained that the colonial government took 855 acres for the Faleolo Airport. But gave back 1070 acres for the village to relocate to.

“Up to now, Satapuala has not been able to develop the whole 1070 acres, but still they cross governments development projects.”

Tuilaepa talked in length about the MPs oath of Office to uphold law and order, peace and integrity of the office and to the people of Samoa. The MP should also respect other Members as well as Government officials. He said that blocking the road by masked and armed men is not respecting other citizens to travel freely.

The PM also referred to other MPs who have been jailed for breaking the law and others who were dealt with by the powers of Parliament.

“I therefore announce, that the seditious act by Satapuala and led by the Member of Parliament be submitted to the Office of the Attorney General for investigations and necessary actions if any charges need be laid.” He said this should avail the legal avenues to deal with the matter.

He said that Parliament could have dealt with the issue by sending the matter to the Privileges Committee. The Government also holds the majority in the House.

“But the spiritual guidance this morning, is that wars start within the human heart. We must not let this go lightly as what has happened will happen again.”

“The Government will not shy away from implementing its development projects for the benefit of the country. That needs the support of everyone.”

The Leader of the Oposition, Palusalue Faapo tried to get the floor and questioned why the matter has been sent to the Attorney Generals Office but not the Privileges Committee of Parliament.

The Speaker ruled that there was no discussion allowed until after the Ministerial Statement has been tabled.

If criminal charges against the MP maybe proven, he will automatically lose his parliamentary seat.

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9 Comments

  1. Lui

    If Satapuala are truly honorable people then apologise to the whole country and hand over their MP and those Chiefs who initiated the incident to the police. There’s no other space for them to move.

  2. Tofaeono M. J. Hollywood

    The leader of any country should not be intimidated in such a way his lawful access to freely roams within his or her own country had been impeded by the violent ethos of the salvage rebels.

    Satapuala is truly lacking matai Samoa leadership but boys status is exposed here. Anger and violence have no place in modern Samoa. The PM doesn’t have to grovel to anyone however much word we write and say about the government but to a boundary.

    This is a mere one village against the whole country the majority is held by the ruling HRPP to develop the properous future for all.

    Ironically here, even the local MP who happens to be in the Opposition party is out to ruin government effort to build infrastructure for his electorate. Unlike the past if you were not a government MP your constituents will get nothing.

    This is dirty politics; the local MP has failed to appreciate the government initiatives completely opposing the benefits for his constituents and Samoa as a country.

  3. Sulp

    I feel for the poor MP. A well educated and experienced person but alas the Toeaiina of the village, I must say whom have been totally misinformed.

    These people played their hand and were thoroughly aware of the repercussions. The situation on Thursday was no different to a ‘coup-de-tat’ and these hooligans should be treated as such. You cannot claim that you were unaware of these actions and the ensuing reaction by Police when you know that any disruptions to the norm will result in what we saw on Thursday!

    I believe the Government’s actions are justified in referring this to the AG for criminal charges and I hope it will bring these people back to earth. He is only an MP.

  4. Olataga

    We have been taught not to judge a book by its cover but yet that is simply what we are doing, look around us, we talk about God being the reason for our being yet our actions do not prove it. Satapuala may have caused the government wrong but we are all humans. That is why we simply forgive and forget. The Satapuala are none other than a part of us so shouldnt we show a little bit of respect and give them space?

  5. TNFS

    I was on the Air New Zealand flight that arrived in Samoa at 2:30pm on Thursday 17/08/2012. Only 1 Immigration Officer was on duty. he said his team was stucked at the road block. There was no Police on duty at the Airport. We were at the airport for a good 1 hour until the Police with guns opened the road. It was a tense moment. People including tourists were unsure what was going on.
    Satapuala’s mistake was unlawfully blocking the road. Driving from the airport to Apia, I noticed a heavy Police armed presence. Satapuala’s mistake was unlawfully blocking the road, there are other lawful means of protest they should have done.
    I dont believe in a fully armed Police presence to resolve issues in Samoa as not all Police are trained properly in the use of firearms in Samoa.

  6. TAUTAI

    If the Aana Alofi 3 MP is charged, he will have a chance to defend if he does wish so. The political climate and manourvering in Samoa suggests that his days are numbered. His involvement in the roadblock will be determined by the Court. I was listening to the PM Ministrial Speech and that of Satapuala’s Chief Spokesperson. They are of completely two different worlds.

  7. FILEMU

    Of the 2 versions, PM is saying that from NZ Administration and the Samoan govt in 1982, extra land was gifted to Satapuala. Yet they have not fully utilised it. Vaili, Chief Spokesperson of Satapuala countered that they do not want any of the land now used for the Airport and government developments. All they are asking is more land from the goverment for them because the village population has increased over the years.

    In summary, PM is saying land is government land, Satapuala is saying land is theirs from God and they are saying their ancestors were forced away from these lands before administrators formalised these lands as belonging to government.

    Wateva the case, may there be PEACE.