Motion by MP denied by Speaker


Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’auli Leuatea Schmidt made a public plea in Parliament for the Speaker of the House to allow him to address issues regarding a tour company owned by his children. 

Laauli said his children have been ridiculed and abused as a result of this initiative, and he wants to clear the air to address this matter once and for all. 

The Minister was referring to Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa’s ministerial speech where she spoke about the Chinese chartered flights from Hong Kong, which has been uncovered there are Cabinet Ministers involved. Fiame’s speech was tabled to be discussed at a later time. 

In Parliament yesterday Laauli pleaded for a chance to address this matter. However, House Speaker Li’o Papalii Taeu Masipa’u denied the request citing other pertinent matters yet to be discussed in Parliament. Also, Parliament has convened over the budget for the new financial year for three weeks, which was approved last Friday. 

During her speech, the Prime Minister noted that Travel Focus Hong Kong Limited, a private company, was contracted by the Samoa Tourism Authority to market Samoa to the world, and they are behind the charter flights directly from China. During the first flight to Samoa, Samoa Royal Tours was sole-sourced to take the tourists around Samoa, and this prompted criticisms by local agents regarding the direct involvement of Samoa Royal Tours and its capacity to carry out tour works when it’s a relatively new company.  

Also cited was the fact this company is registered under a Cabinet Member’s children, Laauli Leuatea Schmidt furthermore.

Fiame also zeroed in on a recent statement issued by Travel Focus outlining their work over the years to ensure direct flights from China to Samoa, along with events that took place, where Cabinet Ministers and officials from the Samoa Tourism Authority attended. 

Also, the statement by Travel Focus defended its decision to sole source the Royal Samoa Tours as they have faith in this fairly new tour company.