28 Nov 2005

Samoan high chief warns prime minister over "critical statements"

11:14 am on 28 November 2005

A high chief in Samoa is critical of the prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, for comparing the doctors' strike to a road blockage by villagers in Siumu in 2001.

And, the high chief, who's also the mayor of Siumu village, Asuao Leitupu, is quoted by the Samoa Observer, as saying the P.M. needs to be mindful of what he says or it might incite ill feelings that could lead to violence.

Over the last few weeks, Tuilaepa has repeatedly said that the doctors' strike, like the blockade, were election ploys.

And, he has said that just as Siumu failed in its bid, doctors too will fail to get their demands.

Villagers blocked off the Siumu road, which links south east Upolu to Apia, in a protest over the sale of 1,400 acres of land that they claimed was communal.

Siumu finally agreed to negotiate with the government and the mayor says a court case is pending to settle the dispute.

Asuao says the P.M. is asking for trouble with his continuous statements referring to the dispute.