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Samoa celebrates independence in State of Emergency
05:30 am GMT+12, 01/06/2020, Samoa

For the first time Samoa is celebrating its independence without a public flag-raising ceremony and march past at the traditional Tiafau malae in Mulinu'u.
 
The change comes as the country marks 58 years of independence while still in a State of Emergency put in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic, of which Samoa has no cases.
 
This year pre-packaged segments have been aired on local television and posted on social media including a short church service, the head of state's address, and the raising of the flag by the member of the council of deputies.
 
Samoa gained independence in January 1962 after 40 years of New Zealand administration.
 
Head of State’s Tuimalealiifano Vaaleto’a Sualauvi II in his address for the Samoa’s 58th Independence anniversary celebration said the unprecedented spread of the pandemic, COVID 19 around the world, has subsequently led to readjustments in the way we operate our duties and responsibilities.
 
“We are at abnormal times as we continue to fortify our collective efforts to keep the COVID 19 at bay. As such, this is the first time since the genesis of our independence celebrations that the official programme for this year’s 58th independence celebration is being communicated through television and radios stations, and the Internet. 
 
“We welcome our 58th Independence anniversary with the guiding verse of our national anthem, ‘Samoa let us arise to raise our flag, our crown; see the stars flying therein, symbolising our ability to govern’. Our independence was predestined by God. He gave wisdom and understanding, perseverance and courage to our forefathers to believe that Samoa could govern her own affairs. Today marks another milestone of our independence and we remember and acknowledge with pride and heartfelt thanks the toil and contributions of our forefathers and leaders who championed our Independence and have led our Government and people from the beginning up to this day. 
 
“As the first, and oldest State among the independent nations in the Pacific, our country has grown in terms of our population and economic development. A clear direction has been set for the future through sustainable development modalities, plans and priorities of government to provide for the country now, and the generations to come. The knowledge and wisdom of our people have allowed them to confidently devise laws and policies, appropriate resources, and lead the implementation of developments in all sectors of the economy. These have required the close partnership between government Ministries and Corporations and our people, especially the support of our village chiefs and orators, church leaders, women committees, non-government organisations, private sector, and the business community. We acknowledge also with appreciation the love and support of our Samoan people abroad. 
 
Let me acknowledge with utmost appreciation the continuing support and kind assistance of our development partners. Their assistance in many spheres or our economic development is a living testament of genuine partnerships. These have been in existence for years and have grown from strength to strength. Thank you indeed for helping Samoa. We pray for God’s comfort and healing upon their countries and people during this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
We should not lose faith and hope with so much happening around us to date,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Samoa Speaker and senior Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga no3, La’aulialemalietoa Polataivao today announced his resignation from the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) to become an Independent member. 
 
The former Cabinet Minister says his decision to leave the party that his late father Polataivao Fosi Schmidt was a founding member of is to obey his constituency’s appeal to break away. 
 
During a press conference, Laauli also announced his intention to setup a new political party as it was one of the instructions from his constituency 
 
In the Constitution, the MPs seat will be vacated and a by-election will be held as it stipulates that the seat of an MP shall become vacant where in certain circumstances he/she resigns or withdraws from or changes his or her political party.
 
A by-election is activated should the declaration be made outside of six months before the 2021 General Election in April.  
 
After more than a year-long ruction with the leader of HRPP and Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi about his membership with the political party, La’auli has finally accepted the call from Tuilaepa to resign. 
 
Although Tuilaepa had continuously told the media that La’auli had resigned from HRPP for voting against Constitution amendment bills in 2019 the senior MP insisted that only he and his constituency can make the decision to leave. 
 
At the time Tuilaepa said the HRPP Committee had endorsed La’auli’s vote against the Constitution amendment by Government as his resignation.
 
Just last week Tuilaepa said he had tried to soften the issue in the public eyes but the truth is Laauli was sacked by the HRPP executive.
 
La'auli was first elected into the Legislative Assembly in the 2006 General Election.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS
 


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