By: Joshua Lafoa’i, Savali.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi says public claims that he demanded an apology from the Vaigaga EFKS Church and the Vaigaga Primary School Committee as a condition for the village Primary School project, are nothing more than ‘rubbish claims’.
Member of Parliament for Faleata Urban West (now Faleata No. 2) Faumuina Leatinuu Wayne Fong had claimed on television and Talanoa Media that his village Church and School committees were asked to apologise to the Prime Minister in order for the Vaigaga Primary School construction plans to go ahead.
In public interviews Faumuina said the village took offense to the request, but did not say who had delivered the message, or from which Government Office the request had come.
“There is no reason for our village to apologise because we have done nothing wrong.. we have not sinned..”
“E leai se matou agasala”.
But Samoa’s Prime Minister has hit back to say the claims that he wanted an apology are unwarranted, false and misleading.
“That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard. The Government does not waste its valuable time with school yard tactics and petty games insinuated by that desperate Faipule,” refuted the Prime Minister during his Taimi ma le Palemia weekly television program aired Sunday evening by TV Samoa.
The Government did, however, decide to put the Vaigaga Primary School building project on the back burner and according to Tuilaepa, it was because of excessive design and building costs.
The Prime Minister noted that the cost of the design plan alone for project, tagged to be funded by the World Bank, was in the neighborhood of $600,000 tala.
“And that does not include the actual construction which would have increased the new school building project expenses to over $1 million tala”.
“We can build two to three Primary Schools like the Safotulafai Primary School for that amount”.
The Safotulafai Primary School was dedicated last week, funded by the Government of Japan at a cost of under $300,000 tala.
The Prime Minister reiterated that it was important to treat all village requests for new School Buildings equally, and without preferential treatment.
“Many of our schools are an estimated cost of $300,000 to $500,000 for the whole completed project. This school is setting a very high precedence, where the project hasn’t even started and yet we’ve dished out $600,000 tala already,” continued the Prime Minister.
Tuilaepa accused Faumuina’s misinformation and false claims as being nothing but dirty campaigning, “to push his FAST political party’s agenda”.
Faumuina has yet to clarify whether the alleged advice to the Vaigaga EFKS Church and School Committee to apologize to the Prime Minister and if so who made the apology demand.