Justice Minister objects to use of “pusi” in Samoa Parliament

The Minister of Justice, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa yesterday criticised a fellow Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) Cabinet Minister for using the word “pusi” in reference to women.Fiame expressed her displeasure during a historical day when 44 Members of Parliament present all voted to amend the Constitution to allow for five additional seats for women in the Legislative Assembly.One of two women MPs, Fiame told Parliament the reference made by the Siumu MP and Associate Minister of Education, Tuu’u Anasi’i Leota, where he quoted a song from popular comedy duo, Sumeo and Petelo, had a double meaning.She was referring to Tuu’u’s use of the phrase; “E le o se pusi atoa a o le afa pusi…” In English, it translates; “It is not a whole cat but half a cat.”In Samoan, the word ‘pusi’ can refer to a sea-eel. It can also be used to refer to a woman’s private parts.Fiame said the saying was rude, inappropriate and a degrading way to look at women.“Honourable Speaker, I don't accept this kind of language inside this house,” she said. “It is not respectful language because it is being referenced to a woman. Not only that, it has a double meaning.“If you or Members of this Chamber don't understand the word pusi, I can explain if you don't understand but [I think] we all know [what it means].“Therefore Honourable Speaker, I request that these words from the Siumu MP be removed. They are disrespectful and inappropriate.It also reflects an attitude of looking down on women and yet that’s what this law tries to change.”She added: “Let's not haste to achieve the objective of this law that we overlook things that shouldn't be overlooked in reference to the language used [in this House].”According to the Minister of Justice, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele had spoken clearly to explain the goals of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2013.

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