The aspiring candidate for the Palauli-i-Sasa’e district, Fiso Evelini Fa’amoe agrees with the claim made by the Prime Minister of Samoa that there is no poverty in Samoa.
Mrs. Fa’amoe said poverty is a result of “laziness” and “not being educated.”
She also believes that these factors also contribute to the boosting number of crimes within the country.
“People think that money is everything, but it is not. It is the root of all bad things,” she said.
“Wanting to have money is not bad, it is when you are greedy for money which will lead you to do bad things.”
She added that the reason people are crying out saying they are poor is because “they choose to be poor.”
In saying that, she referred to the increasing number of beggars on the streets of Apia as evidence of that.
“These people decided to go on the streets and beg as their way of getting money.”
Moreover, she believes “inter-dependence” is another contributing factor as to why people think there is poverty in Samoa.
“Why are we depending on others to provide things for us, when we can work for ourselves?”
“We are all blessed with different talents from God; we should make good use of those talents instead of throwing them all away.”
She stands firmly in her belief that Samoa is an organised society which is made up of all the different institutions such as families, villages, churches, women’s committees, youths, and the government.
She believes that if all the institutions work hand in hand to help each other, there will be no more “cries of poverty” in Samoa.
She also believes that our Samoan culture plays a huge role in eliminating these issues in Samoa.
Having said that, she said the foundation of any Samoan life starts from the family.
“If we have well-organised and good families, then we will have well-organised and good villages as well.”
“And if we have good villages, then we will have better districts. And if we have better districts, we will have the best country.”
In terms of fa’alavelave and our culture, Fiso believes that “we are the reasons why we say fa’alavelave in Samoa also results to poverty.”
“This is because we make it so expensive.”
As a retired lecturer for Samoan Studies, Fiso believes that we should lighten the burden [fa’amama le avega] when it comes to fa’alavelave.
“People are saying that our culture is expensive, but who is making it expensive? It is us, and I think that we have to have the mindset of our people when it comes to fa’alavelave.”
“Most people nowadays do big things for very silly reasons such as living up to people’s expectation of what you do and for getting praise. Because we all know that one of the main reasons why we have big weddings and big funerals is to please other people, but then at the end of the day, who is going to pay for all the money that you spent? It is going to be your family.”
“And that is why people complain, but I know that if we lighten the burden, we will complain no more.”
Nevertheless, Mrs. Fa’amoe believes that our greatest gifts from God are the lands, sea, freedom and talents.
“If we use these God-given gifts wisely, then there will be no more problems. And if we educate our people and train them to use their talents and use our lands to earn money, our youths will no longer have time to roam around the streets and cause trouble in their villages and in public places. Also there will be no more unemployment and cries of poverty.”
In saying that, Fiso said there should be counselling for our people and youths in particular so that they can go to and learn about what they can do to avoid getting into trouble.
“If we constantly remind them about how important their lives are and make them realize the great role they play in our communities then there will be no more violence in families, no more fighting in public places and no more crimes in the country.”
“And for counsellors, I believe we should also have people from the rural areas and from Savaii to counsel our youths there because they know exactly what is happening there because they live there. So instead of only having one or two counsellors from Apia or from overseas, we should also have people from the rural areas and people from Savai’i.”