21 Jul 2017

Samoa's departing head of state says it was a privilege

2:20 pm on 21 July 2017

The outgoing head of state of Samoa Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta'isi Efi said it has been a privilege to serve his country and people.

In his farewell speech Tui Atua gave special thanks to the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Parliament.

He also paid tribute to the many people who helped make his and wife's Masiofo Filifilia's journey as Head of State a privilege that they can never repay or forget.

Tui Atua said the Constitution of Samoa was a gift from God, and written within each word, each clause, preamble and article are the sweat, blood and tears of our forebears.

"We must tread ever so carefully when we embark on changing even one word of it [Constitution]."

"Samoa is a supporter of democracy and human rights, you must ensure that we support our parliamentarians to have the full protection of not only the wisdom's of democracy but also the wisdom's of our Fa'asamoa."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said there may never be another person with such a distinguished political service quite like Tui Atua.

Tui Atua had been a member of Parliament, a Cabinet Minister, Prime Minister, Deputy Head of State and Head of State, a post he has held for the last 10 years since the passing of Malietoa Tanumafili II.

"I wonder if there would ever be anyone who could reach such milestones as you have achieved," said Tuilaepa.

"Those are attributes of decisions made solely by our God as he looks into our souls but we look more at the physical side".

Tuilaepa told his former political adversary that whatever else God calls him in the future, "you still look fit and well, we should accept that there are still other plans our God has in store for you".

Samoa's new head of state, Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II, took the oath on Thursday.