The new Minster of Women, Community and Social Development, aims to win the support of the ‘village councils’, as the key to restoring a harmonious working relationship between Government and any of the disgruntled rural communities.
The former Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama, inherits his new Cabinet portfolio, with outstanding frictions to be mended with villages like Gataivai, Savai’i.
A Ministry of Women party of officials to discuss development issues with the village council last month were not welcomed in Gataivai and told to leave.
Tuitama asserted that the most effective solution to internal issues like this is with the chiefs and orators of each village.
“Mutual respect underpins the Samoan culture where the ‘matai’ or village leaders face each other to talk out their differences, reach an understanding and resolve them,” the Minister reflected.
Miscommunication is blamed for the Gataivai rejection between the Ministry, village ‘pulenu’u’ and the village council.
The Ministry entrusted the village ‘pulenu’u’, as the official link with the chiefs and orators, with a request for a party of officials to meet for talks over development proposals by Government.
“The problem is the pulenu’u sat on it without informing the village as it is his duty. The part where the Ministry officials were directed by the council to leave is sad because it goes against our culture of mutual respect.”
Tuitama argued that the best way to clear the air in keeping with the ‘fa’aSamoa’ is to dialogue.
“As the Minister directly involved, I know it is easier said than done but I am ready to front up to any misunderstanding that needs to be sorted out.
“We have a saying that Samoans are as difficult as a fish with too many bones ‘’…ole I’a ivi ivia’ – we have people who are supposed to be informed yet pretend they are not.”
The Minister’s reaction paid indirect tribute to his predecessor who has now taken over his former Cabinet portfolio for Health.
“Health issues are not as challenging as what the Ministry of Women are currently wrestling with but I am grateful for the heavenly guidance in the work before me.”
He welcomed the new changes in his ministerial role and the new set of challenges that are passed on to him.
Any new changes brings their own line of tasks what the Minister accepts is always a never ever series to test any person’s sense of responsibilities.
“I enjoy taking up any challenges of my new role in Cabinet with a much wider spread rather than concentrating on just one area of responsibility when I was with Health.
“ This time I’m mandated to deal with village councils, women developments, internal matters and the wellbeing of families.
“What that means is a lot of work that are also closely involved with health issues.”
As Minister his primary aim is the traditional authority of the chiefs and orators in the villages, where he believes all the answers are found.
This is where he intends to place the emphasis on the work of the Ministry, to build a closer and harmonious working relationship between the Government and the villages.