Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi : biography
Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi (born 14 April 1945) is a Samoan politician who has been Prime Minister of Samoa since 1998.
Tuilaepa's government has passed highly controversial legislation to switch Samoan road use from right to left-hand traffic., The Telegraph, July 3, 2009, ABC Radio Australia, August 12, 2008 The controversy resulted in a peaceful demonstration which drew more than 15,000 people, the largest protest demonstration in Samoan history, and to the founding of the People's Party, a political party established to protest against changing sides., Samoa Observer, November 9, 2008
In 2011, Tuilaepa's government introduced a bill to shift Samoa west of the International Date Line, to facilitate economic relations with Australia, New Zealand and Asia (by ensuring that Samoa would no longer be one calendar day away from them). According to Samoa Observer editor Keni Lesa, many Samoans viewed the bill as "another crazy idea from our crazy prime minister". Opposition politicians also criticised it, arguing that it would not increase exports, and that it would in fact deprive Samoa of "its unique tourism selling point as the last place on earth to see the sun", just east of the Date Line. Tuilaepa responded by calling opposition MP Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi (of the Tautua Samoa Party) "very stupid", adding that "only an idiot" would fail to see the merits of the bill. However, the bill had the support of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and the vast majority of the private and finance sector. The major benefit being that, given that most trade was conducted with New Zealand and Australia, and a growing trade sector with South East and East Asia, that being on the same day as these major trading partners would lead to improvements in productivity, as more trade could be facilitated during a shared five day week, as opposed to the previous situation of only sharing three week days to conduct business.
Opposition to Fiji's Bainimarama
Tuilaepa has emerged as one of Oceania's most vocal critics of Fijian interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who came to power in the 2006 Fijian coup d'état. Tuilaepa has stated that Bainimarama has shown little respect for the opinions of regional Pacific leaders. Tuilaepa has said that Bainimarama's actions since the 2006 coup have shown that Bainimarama has no intentions of returning Fiji to democratic rule or holding transparent, free elections. Tuilaepa cites numerous actions by Bainimarama to back up his criticisims, including rescinding assurances to leaders at a regional meeting in Tonga that elections would be held in May 2008. He has also criticized Bainimarama as a "no-show" at regional meetings of the Pacific Islands Forum in Niue and Papua New Guinea. Tuileapa has said that Bainimarama's failure to compromise, hold democratic elections and meet with regional leaders is not the "Pacific way."
In a February 2009 continuation of the war of words between Bainimarama and Tuilaepa, Commodore Bainimarama accused Samoa's foreign policy of being dictated by New Zealand. He also accused Tuilaepa of being "un-Pacific". Tuilaepa fired back, questioning whether Bainimarama was sober when he made these claims and reiterating that Bainimarama shows little respect for Pacific leaders.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa competed for his country at the 2007 South Pacific Games in the sport of target archery. In participating in the Games, the Prime Minister became the first elected leader to represent his country at a multi-sport event.
Having taken up the sport only five months prior to the Games, Tuilaepa was ranked second in Samoa in the combined bow discipline. The Prime Minister's son was also a reserve team member.
On day 10 of the Games, Tuilaepa won a silver medal in the mixed recurve team play event.
Born at Lepa, Samoa, Malielegaoi is an economist by profession. He attended high school at St Joseph's College, Lotopa then obtained a master's from the University of Auckland, becoming the first Samoan to receive a master's degree in commerce.
In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine