A tribute to a life of service to his God and country

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

There is a time and a season for everything. 

And in every season of human history, God alone, in his infinite wisdom and sovereignty, raises a man for his purpose and his glory. That man is given a certain time period to complete a mission and when that is done, God closes a chapter. He gives him rest. 

Today, this nation is in mourning because a special man who was raised by God for his purpose and his glory has completed his mission on earth. 

Indeed for 83 long years, Tuiloma Pule Alaimoana Unasa Lameko Gae’e served his God-given mission. He did this through the people God placed in his path, whether it was his family, villages, churches and of course through the Government. 

For Tuiloma, it was an illustrious career, one many people can only envy.

But he started at the bottom just like any ordinary man. His life as a public servant began in the 1950s when he worked for the Western Samoa Trust Estate Corporation (W.S.T.E.C.), the Treasury Department as a Chief Accountant and was later seconded to the International Monetary Fund where he spent some time in Washington DC. In 1976, he returned to Samoa and created history by becoming the first General Manager of the Samoa Shipping Corporation.

Having spent 20 years in the public service, Tuiloma’s destiny was elsewhere. That place was Parliament when in 1979 he became the Member of Parliament for Safata. It was a calling that would see him serve Samoa and the world for nearly 40 years holding various portfolios, critical to the development of Samoa as a young democracy.

As a Member of Parliament, he served his first Ministerial portfolio in 1988 as the Minister of Agriculture under the late Tofilau Eti Alesana’s administration. In 1991, under the same administration, he was the Minister of Sports and Cultural Affairs.

Having taken a break as the Commissioner of the Public Service Commission from 1996 to 2001, Tuiloma returned to Parliament  in 2001 as the Associate Minister to the Prime Minister. He held the same portfolio for two Parliamentary sittings. It was after the 2011 General Election where he returned as the Minister of Revenue and Public Trust, which was to be his last posting as a Cabinet Minister.

In January 2016, Tuiloma was appointed as one of the Members of the Council of Deputies, a position he had held until his final breath. Away from his life as a public servant, Tuiloma held many different positions within his family, church and villages.

Today, having completed what was required of him on earth, God alone has called him home. “Well done you good and faithful servant,” he would be welcoming him with open arms. Which is life, isn’t it? 

Tuiloma’s passing is an enormously sad time for this country. It is especially a sad occasion for his children, family, churches and villages. 

His departure continues the end of an era where a number of men and women his age have been called home. They are a special generation, one whose wisdom and foresight can never be replaced.

A man of unquenchable passion for the work of God on earth, Tuiloma was a remarkable soul yet he was humble, unassuming and continued the mantle God gave him which was of service. 

At his passing two weeks ago, the statement issued by his family, spoke volumes. It could not have described Tuiloma any better. 

Here, take another look: 

 “Our family is deeply saddened by the passing of a man of great faith who always taught us the values of integrity, humility, respect, fairness, love and service for family, village, church and the people of Samoa,” the statement reads.

 “A lay preacher who loved the Lord, an orator and high chief who was rich with knowledge and pride for his Samoan heritage, a statesman, a politician, a Fellow chartered accountant, a farmer and a business man whose life was devoted to serve. Known to our family as ‘Meko’, he will be sorely missed.”

Well done, good and faithful servant. Your eternal rewards will be numerous and eternal. Rest in love, Tuiloma!

Lastly, we extend our deepest condolences to his children Vui Lance, Faumuina Esther, Tole’afoa Dr. Viali, Taituuga Maryanne and Aumua Isaia Lameko, family and the nation in mourning. God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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