18 May 2011

Samoa's leader puts flippant spin on Fiji/Tonga spat

8:22 pm on 18 May 2011

The Samoa prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, in an amusing press release, says the flight of Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara to Tonga is a storm in a teacup.

Tuilaepa says it's clear that Ratu Tevita had gone out fishing and got into problems with the current that sucks all debris into the Tonga Trench.

He says the Tonga navy vessel spotted Ratu Tevita, rescued him and it was pure coincidence he was King George Tupou the 5th's relation.

He says Fiji's interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama should be thanking the Tonga government for rescuing Ratu Tevita, or he'd be in South America by now.

And he says the Commodore should be telling off his own navy for not helping, but says that's what happens when the admiral spends all his time in politics.

Tuilaepa says there's a Samoan word togafiti, or the Pacific Way, which aptly describes the warm relations that exists between Fijians and Tongans - the mutual backs-scratching in times of itchiness and the occasional brotherly squabble.