Gaoteote takes senate seat again
Traditional leaders of Vaifanua county council have again selected Sen. Gaoteote Tofau Palaie, the current Senate President, to take up their senatorial seat for the next four years, when the new 35th Legislature is sworn into office at 12noon on Jan. 3, 2017, county sources told Samoa News over the weekend.
Vaifanua county compromises the villages of Alao, Aoa, Onenoa,Tula and Vatia; and the decision by Vaifanua county traditional leaders to return Gaoteote to the Senate for a third consecutive four-year term, was made Saturday during a county council meeting hosted by Vatia, which is Gaoteote’s home village.
A Vaifanua county official said the meeting went very well and there were no problems in reaching the decision to return Gaoteote to the Senate. Samoa News was informed by some traditional leaders that it is Aoa’s turn to the Vaifanua seat, and during the meeting Aoa’s traditional leader Aumoeualogo Te’o J. Fuavai, a former Vaifanua senator, expressed sincere appreciation to Gaoteote for his leadership in representing Vaifanua in the Senate in the last eight years.
The Vaifanua county official told Samoa News after the meeting that while there were many at the meeting who supported Aumoeualogo taking up the senatorial seat, Aumoeualogo respectfully rendered the county seat to Gaoteote and the county council traditional leaders accepted it.
After Aumoeualogo’s speech, it was followed by traditional speeches from other traditional county leaders from villages such as Alao, Tula and Onenoa, with Gaoteote being the last to address the meeting and thanked the County leaders for selecting him again.
After the county meeting the traditional Samoan gift presentation of sua was done as well as the serving of food. (See Samoan story published in today’s Lali section of Samoa News)
Gaoteote, a military retiree, first served in the House of Representatives for a couple of years, before taking up his first-four year term in the Senate in January 2009.
Samoa News understands Vaifanua is the first county to select an individual for its senatorial seat, while the rest of the counties have delayed their county council meetings to select their respective senators until after the Nov. 8 general election.
According to the territory’s constitution senators shall be elected in accordance with Samoan custom by the county councils of the counties they are to represent. The county chiefs of such counties shall certify the decisions of the members of the county councils of the counties concerned.
Samoa News reporters Ausage Fausia and Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.