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"Thank you but Cabinet is not asleep at the wheel" Samoa PM says

Bitcoin displayed in front of a price chart on the website of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase earlier this year.

Apia, SAMOA — Cabinet is not asleep at the wheel. 

In fact, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has reassured that if “Samoa’s boat sinks,” as the “Captain of the boat,” he will be the first one to know.

The Prime Minister made the point in Parliament last week when he was responding to a warning from the former Speaker of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt. La’auli had warned the Government to be careful with their decision making because the future of the country is at stake.

“We have to work together,” he said. “We are here to offer advice to you for a smooth journey. If something bad happens to our boat, we will all sink and die.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa interjected. He reassured Parliament that as the “captain,” he is keeping an eye out on what’s best for Samoa.

“There are people who say things and then there are people who take note of what’s being said,” Tuilaepa said.

“I get your concern but don’t you worry, when our boat leaks, the first people to know is the captain and his mechanics. We will know. So thank you for the advice but Cabinet is not asleep at the wheel.”

La’auli had also issued a challenge for the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti.

“My advice is don’t be lazy to look for new revenue opportunities, new money,” the Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No. 3 said.

“There is plenty of fish in the sea, plenty of birds in the sky so you can find some new revenue streams. We need the new money, new investment and new people."

La’auli said cryptocurrency appears to be one of those new revenue streams.

“Please look into this in case the Ministry’s vision is blurred while there are positive things there for Samoa,” he said. 

“It’s a complex matter but I will leave it there with you.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa rejected the call.

“Mr. Speaker, the Ministry has been there and considered it,” he said. “We are nowhere near (ready) for that. Nowhere near. Even countries with much bigger economies, they are avoiding it."

“But some of our people have become involved. So we have issued an advisory for people to be absolutely careful about this.”

Earlier this year, the Governor of the Central Bank of Samoa, Maiava Atalina Ainu’u-Enari, confirmed an investigation into one of the crytocurrency schemes that had been operating in Samoa known as One Coin. The scheme uses middlemen to collect people’s money in the hope of gigantic returns.

 “There are people and organizations currently under our microscope, but this is part of ongoing enquiries and our investigation,” she said.

Read more at Samoa Observer