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Samoa’s PM reaffirms constitutional change

Monday 30 May 2016 | Published in Regional

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SAMOA – Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has reaffirmed his views on a proposed constitutional amendment to state by law that Christianity is the official church of Samoa.

In a weekly radio talkback show, Tuilaepa emphasised the need to correct an error he claims was made by foreigners in Samoa’s original and current constitution.

“That is the only amendment planned for the constitution,” he explained. “To correct what the papalagi did not do. Our forebears wanted that inserted in the body of the Constitution.

“The preamble is not important but inside the body of the constitution, it should have these words inserted that Samoa is founded on Christian principles and values – to make it very clear.”

Tuilaepa reiterated that those words are not identified in the body of the constitution where they should be.

“That is why I’m saying that will be corrected – to insert those words in the body of the Constitution,” he said.

“But what I see in the newspaper is, it says that other religions are to be banned, which is such a foolish claim.”

Tuilaepa recalled that in the past, the elders wanted to insert the changes in the constitution but the papalagi told them not to do so, as it would be too wordy. He added that there was no extremism then.

“But that is not true during these days because what is happening from overseas comes from beliefs and religion. That is why I said that error will be corrected.”

The prime minister continued to say that his position on the issue was “very simple”. “But there is something happening here,” he said, referring to newspaper reports that there were plans to ban other religions from Samoa.

“We are talking in Samoan and what’s happening is there are so many writers who are physically Samoans but do not understand Samoan.

“That is why I continue to speak in Samoan so that our country can understand. The problem is you think you can speak English that runs like a sewing machine and then think you are smart but it only shows how stupid you are.”

He added what he had said was very clear but, “when I saw the newspaper, it was wrong all the way from Sydney”.

The prime minister said that not correcting something that is wrong, is a sin.

“Let’s talk about sin, even though we are not pastors,” he said.

“A person will commit a sin if they do wrong like lying and assaulting someone else but the other sin is knowing that the other person has done wrong, and you don’t do anything about it.

“So there are two kinds of sins which are, when you do wrong and when you know that something is not right and you don’t correct it.” - Samoa Observer