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By Keni Ramese Lesa

APIA, Samoa (November 29, 2000 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---Prime Minister and leader of the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) Tuila‘epa Sailele Malielegaoi said the recent coup and unrest in Fiji highlighted one of the achievements of his party.

He said through HRPP's efforts, Samoa established the National University of Samoa at Malifa.

Tuila‘epa said he believes this move has paid off, taking care of Samoa’s tertiary students’ needs during the recent unrest in Fiji, which disrupted the flow of study for some students.

Samoan students who returned from the University of the South Pacific because of the troubles in Suva have continued studies at the National University of Samoa in Apia.

Tuila‘epa reflected on his party’s achievements during their term in government as hundreds of HRPP supporters gathered at Mulinuu to celebrate the party’s 21st birthday.

Tuila‘epa said that one of HRPP’s significant achievements was the establishment of an educational fund plan in 1984, which assisted both private and public schools. The party was aware that the younger generation was Samoa’s future, he said.

But the party’s achievements do not end there, he said. When they were re-elected in 1988, Tuila‘epa said HRPP prioritized the supply of electricity and water to the villages.

Controlling a country whose development is continuously pestered by natural disasters and limited resources has been a difficult task. When Samoa was struck by two devastating cyclones in the early 1990s, Tuila‘epa said that the government was left with the painstaking task of revitalizing the economy.

In 1993 the taro disease blight struck Samoa, taking agricultural export revenues to an all time low. The government knew it had to come up with a strategic plan to ensure Samoa got back on its feet again, he said.

In 1996, HRPP was again re-elected. After the elections, it was discovered that late Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana’s health was deteriorating. This was a huge blow to the party’s plans.

Tofilau passed away last year.

Meanwhile, Tuila‘epa took over the role of PM, continuing from where Tofilau left off.

Tuilaepa said that 21 years is along time, but HRPP is looking forward to serving the country for another 21years.

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