APIA, SAMOA – 11 SEPTEMBER 2020: The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa has resigned.
In an exclusive interview with Talamua this morning, Fiamē said she was resigning as Deputy Prime Minister and a Minister of Cabinet, but will remain as a Member of Parliament.
She is one of the very few remaining long serving MPs and Cabinet Minister in the ruling Human Rights Protection Party and Fiamē handed in her resignation to the Head of State, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament before lunchtime today.
Fiamē’s resignation comes after she and her constituency of Lotofaga voiced their serious concerns on Wednesday this week to the Parliamentary Committee conducting consultations over the three Bills that have been through their first and second readings in parliament.
One of the concerns is the threat to the rule of law and the impact of the Bills on the individual as against communal rights proposed in the Bills. Fiamē also said there were gaps and the Bills need be returned to Government for further review and consultations.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told the state-owned Radio 2AP that Fiame’s objection to the Bills mean she was no longer a member of the Human Rights Protection Party.
Fiamē told Talamua that she intends to remain as an independent MP in the House for the rest of the term that ends in January 2021.
She and the Prime Minister had been in a rare public confrontation in parliament in March this year when she voiced her concerns on the amendments to the Electoral Act and Tuilaepa asked her to resign if she does not support the amendments.
Fiamē said that she is resigning on a matter of principle.
“Every choice we make has consequences,” Fiamē told Talamua “and I’m subscribing to the democratic principle that I’m in the minority on Cabinet driven laws that do not have my support.”