APIA, SAMOA – 05 NOVEMBER 2020: The FAST Political Party has vowed to restore the dignity in Samoa’s June independence celebrations and its meaning to the whole country.
FAST Chairman, La’aulialemaliteoa Leuataea Polata’ivao told a receptive audience in the party’s launch in Savaii yesterday that the meaning of the independence celebrations every 01 June has dissipated over the years given the emphasis the government is giving the annual celebration.
He said that the government has tried to erase critical parts of Samoa’s history and the important events that contributed to Samoa attaining its political independence in 1962.
“They bulldozed the old Fono House down, they demolished the old court house, because that’s the history they want erased as they want people to remember only their time,” La’auli said.
As Parliament Speaker then, La’auli clashed with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi when Cabinet decided to demolish the old Fono House in 2018.
La’auli wanted to save the building as a Museum given its significance as it was where Samoa’s Constitution was signed and the first parliament met after independence in 1962. La’auli stood his ground that only Parliament, and not Cabinet, had the power to decide the old parliament buildings fate.
The building was later demolished after the PM moved a motion in parliament to demolish the building just before Samoa celebrated its 56 independence anniversary in 2018.
“We need to let our children know why they march every independence morning and what independence means for them and us as a country.”
La’auli reminded the Savaii audience, that the Mau a Pule (Savaii) started the national movement for independence from colonial powers and the instigators and leaders of the Mau a Pule were from Savaii.
“Where is Namulauulu Lauaki, where is I’iga Pisa, where is Asiata and those who fought, exiled overseas an died to give us our freedom,” he asked to a vocal approval from the audience.
“Then he led with the nationalistic song, Puleono i Salafai e, Tula’i mai ma le Fa’amoni e, as one thousand strong voices reverberated in the warm midmorning air as some shed tears and let an opening to their deep set emotions.”
The FAST leader also brought home the sensitive issue of Saleaula, one of the six traditional orators of Puleono to lose its significance because of the changes brought by the electoral act.
Since HRPP came to power, the independence celebrations became one day ceremony for the flag raising and speeches while events that used to be featured in previous celebrations such as the longboats races have been moved to the weeklong tourism Teuila Festival in September.
FAST also promises to restore the Samoan cultural essence that had dissipated over the HRPP years by pushing the Tama Aiga paramount families out of the Head of States’ and Council of Deputies positions.
La’auli told the Savai’i audience, FAST will deliver a Head of State and a member of the Council of Deputies from Savaii if it gets to power.
Platform – Investigation into the Measles Epidemic
In its platform, FAST plans to abolish the taxation of church ministers and limit the PM’s term to only ten years “to keep arrogance and corruption in check.”
La’auli also told the supporters that FAST return unused state-owned land to adjacent villages that used to own them before the lands were taken during the colonial times.
Assistance will be given to mechanise and commercialise agriculture, revive the Women’s Committees as the focal point of health and other communities services in the villages, investigation into last years’ Measles epidemic, the handling of the Covid19 and funding, establishment of an Export Authority where Government leads in the search and security of overseas markets for farmers, allocate $51m for direct individual constituency’s developments projects identified by them.
In sports, FAST promises to establish a Sports Authority to be in charge of sports development and will remove political involvement from Samoan rugby as poor and declining Manu Samoa results over the years was due to the involvement of politicians.
For Savaii, the party plans to lift the development of Salelologa township as the centre of business on the island and develop the wharf to be able to take container vessels after a container vessel got stuck in the mud before making it to the wharf due to the sallow channel.
Over one thousand people and party supporters congregated at the Apita o Pisaga Hall yesterday and stayed for the four hour-long ceremony and what residents say was a first full house for the hall.