14 Mar 2018

Samoa PM against taking non-Samoan deportees

5:37 am on 14 March 2018

The Prime Minister of Samoa says there is no way his country will accept deportees from the United States who are not Samoan citizens.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told KHJ News that his government was still not clear on the details except that nine criminals were due to be deported to Samoa.

Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi in Wellington.

Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi in Wellington. Photo: RNZ/ Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor

But he believed that the issue of non-Samoan citizens was all part of the usual bullying tactics by major nations like the United States.

"Those kind of people must not be deported to Samoa. If they are not citizens of Samoa they should be sent to the country of citizenship," he said.

Having said that, Tuilaepa said his government would work at resettling all deportees when they arrive.

One of the problems, according to Tuilaepa, is these people come here and they are "like people from another planet".

"We have to remind them they are now in Samoa and not on a different planet," he said.

It is not clear when the deportees will arrive but Tuilaepa said he is buoyed by the success of the Samoa Returnees Organisation, a non-government organisation at the forefront of the rehabilitation work with returnees, especially from the United States.

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