8 July 2020, Apia Samoa. Member of Parliament for the Urban West constituency in Faleata Faumuina Leatinuu Wayne Fong says he looks forward to joining a party with a functioning caucus that are able to openly discuss issues, but also one which is led by a woman.
The announcement this week of Faumuina’s sacking from the ruling Human Rights Protection Party was made by the Prime Minister and party leader Hon Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, who said Faumuina had gone against the party, by his public remarks in questioning government decisions, initiatives and programs.
During an interview in his office at Vailoa yesterday morning, Faumuina said that he wants to now join a party where he is able to openly express opinions on issues that affect his Constituency, adding that more women and youth are needed in Parliament.
“I want to join a party where there is a caucus, a party where there can be lots of thoughts and ideas being discussed; and not run by one person. I need a party with many people all pitching in their thoughts and ideas;
“And the second thing, I want to join a party, that is led by a woman. We need a change, we need a woman”, said Faumuina.
“We have seen the many years of leadership by our Honorable Prime Minister, but I think he’s been there too long;
“So we need a woman’s approach; and if a woman should stand up to lead the HRPP, that would be great, and I would be knocking back on the door, to go back and support that person 100%”.
Faumunia made the comparison to New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“Look at New Zealand’s Prime Minister, she is young, vibrant, with a mother’s heart”.
Faumuina says the old school way of playing politics is getting personal, with members becoming easily angered, and playing dirty; making Parliament ineffective, and adding that moves should be made to bring in more youth.
“I want to lead the youth to the future;
“And another thing is, those of us in Parliament are getting too old, we need some fresh, green thinking. Youth bring new methods, a fresh approach and new way of thinking”.
“Ua matutua tele matou ia e i totonu o le Palemene, ma o metotia ia e nonofo nei ma toeaiina nei e i totonu i o, se o polokiki tuai, ae ua leaga a, ua le toe lelei. Le ituaiga approach lena ua taalo i le tino, ua itaita gofie, ae o le mea ia, e faifai malie.”
Faumuina admits that he is opinionated and at times, voices strong views regarding some decisions by government, but maintains that this has never made him disloyal.
“I did voice my opinion about Vui Clarence Nelson being overlooked as Samoa’s Chief Justice; I have lived here all my life and the whole time, Vui has held this position in the Courts of Samoa. So yes, I was very vocal about that;
“The other issue is the three Amendment Bills, and a meeting that our village of Gagaifomauga Lefaga held, where I did also voice my opinion and thoughts; someone ran up and told the Prime Minister, so I was called in to his office.”
“I feel free now to be able to voice my opinions, because I was often shut down in Parliament and told that I shouldn’t ask because the things I raise were explained during Parliament Pre-Sitting sessions”.
Faumuina says that his constituents are urban-based workers and business people, many run small to medium businesses and when one business venture closes down, they’re quick to get back up, dust off and unafraid to take the risk and open up another business or income-generating venture.
“So they will not be fooled, they are straight shooters who vote on the issues; and I can’t be seen as someone who doesn’t understand or care about all these issues;
“They are the partners of government for the economic development of Samoa, so they do have views and opinions, and they expect their Member of Parliament to voice those positions”.
Asked what the key development issues were for Samoa and his constituency going into April’s general elections, Faumuina said:
“1. The Environment – we are close to the ocean and we must look closely at the Vaiusu Bay and development plans for the new wharf; 2. Youth Crime and Education – our urban youth continue to be involved in serious criminal cases that are drug and alcohol related such as manslaughter, burglary and theft. 3. Health – this is the latest threat for Samoa, with epidemic after epidemic; and 4. Savaii – the development of Savaii”.
“But that can be an interview for another day,” he says.