Samoa MP calls for “emergency” Parliament
Member of Parliament for Gagaemauga No 2, Levaopolo Talatonu is urging Speaker of the House, La’aul ialemal ietoa Leuatea Polata’ ivao to convene an “emergency session” of Parliament.
The session, he says, is to discuss “threats to national security” posed by Satapuala’s land protest and the Magiagi roadblock.
“I’m worried about what’s going on,” Levaopolo tells the Samoa Observer. “We are talking about an issue of national security. When the Police are involved, we are looking at the involvement of all of Samoa. “It’s not a matter that should be taken lightly and this is why an emergency session of Parliament is necessary.”
The session will allow Members of Parliament to help Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi to devise a strategy to diffuse the situation. “I feel sorry for him,” says Levaopolo.
“I know he doesn’t have to carry the burden by himself. All Members of Parliament should contribute by giving advise to the Prime Minister about the best way to go forward.” Tension is growing between the Government, Satapuala and Magiagi. Last week, Magiagi staged a roadblock to prevent EPC workers from accessing houses in the village to install cash power meters.
The village insists that they will block the road “forever” unless Prime Minister Tuilaepa agrees to meet with them. Satapuala’s land grievances on the other hand continue to be a sensitive issue.
Last Friday, the village turned away more than 100 Police officers when they went there under orders from Tuilaepa to survey the land, on which government is planning to build a hospital. Satapuala has since accused the Government of betraying their trust.
Spokesperson Vaili Mimita II has also warned Prime Minister Tuilaepa that if he insists on using the Police, Satapuala will not back down.
Neither Prime Minister Tuilaepa nor Speaker La’auli was immediately available for a comment. Yesterday was a national holiday.
But Levaopolo says the signs are worrying. “This is the first time I’ve heard of something like this,” he said about the police officers being turned away.
“Looking at what happened at Satapuala last week, it appears that almost all Police officers in Samoa went there. What happens when these situations get out of hand?
“This is why we need to act now.” Levaopolo says the safety of Police officers and members of the public should be the Government’s paramount concern.
“Everyone has an opinion about what’s happening,” Levaopolo said. “What’s important is that peace is maintained. That’s why Parliament should be convened so that we can help the Prime Minister.