Last week, an interesting letter penned by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi surfaced. Samoa being a small place, the content of the letter had already been the subject of much discussions among the inside circle of the Government.
You see, in this place we call home, even walls have ears; they talk. Trust me.
So it was no surprise that the much-talked about letter from Prime Minister Tuilaepa surfaced. Don’t ask me how it arrived. It just happened.
What was the letter about?
Well it was nothing but a good old telling off of senior Government officials, especially the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.), Lopao’o Natanielu Mu’a, and the Chief Executive Officer, Tilafono David Hunter by their leader.
With agriculture being at the forefront of the national conversation during the past few weeks, something about it had clearly irked the Prime Minister. So much so he could not help himself. It involved the scheduling of events in relation to Cabinet’s weekly meeting.
So on 16 October 2018, Tuilaepa picked up his pen and wrote the officials in question. To be doubly sure that the message gets across, he copied in all Ministers, Associate Ministers and all heads of Government.
“Cabinet meets on Wednesday every week,” the letter reads. “The Cabinet meeting is a matter of priority. It takes precedence over any meeting or service whether it’s official, personal or church-related.”
By the way, the letter subsequently also revealed why the Agriculture Show in Upolu, originally scheduled for last Wednesday, was unexpectedly postponed. It did not take place until Thursday.
Some people turned up on Wednesday only to find out that it has been cancelled. Yes the official invites said it was going to be held on Wednesday.
But this is Samoa and it’s Tuilaepa country. You can say that he can do whatever he wants, whenever, wherever and he did in this case. The show was delayed.
Now getting back to the letter, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said many senior Government officials continue to “forget” policies, such as the one related to Cabinet’s weekly meetings. Another policy that he reminded officials about was that Government begins work 9am.
Well this is Samoa after all, where island time rules. Maybe Tuilaepa knows many of those public servants are being paid palagi time salaries and working on Samoan time. Which is why the reminder was important.
“I have noticed that you continue to forget these policies which are important to the Government – the same policies we took and oath to fulfill to the best of our abilities,” Tuilaepa wrote.
“To all Cabinet Ministers, government workers, especially the C.E.O.s, you must remember these policies that you continue to forget. If the Minister forgets, the C.E.O. should remind him – that’s why you were appointed as a C.E.O to remind the Minister.
“The Cabinet meeting takes priority, which means you have to postpone your shows, your funerals, matai title bestowal ceremonies, church meetings. All those family commitments, church commitments are secondary to the role to which you have taken an oath to serve the 190,000 people of our country.”
Wow the man has spoken.
So watch the funerals, make sure the saofai is on another day.
You can’t blame Prime Minister Tuilaepa for being upset though, can you?
As the leader of the nation, he has to keep his team in line and he’s got a ship to steer. Now and then he needs to give them a kick up the backside to remind them why they are there and what they need to do.
See the problem with Samoa today is that Prime Minister Tuilaepa most of the time cops the flak for a lot of the negative things happening. It’s understandable because he is the one fronting up with answers – even though many of them don’t make sense – when the country needs them.
Now with the letter, Prime Minister Tuilaepa gives his final instruction – and a warning.
“For the future, do not make this mistake again,” he signed off.
Did you get that girls and boys? Classic Tuilaepa. What will this country ever do without him?
Have a wonderful week Samoa, God bless!