The sob stories being sold by a certain beggar in Apia, blaming the lack of options for what he does, have failed to convince a businessman from Vaimoso.
In response to a story titled “Man begs for a living in Apia” published on page 2 of the Sunday Samoan featuring a man who identified himself as Pita Shane, Sio Silva urged members of the public yesterday not to waste any money on such people.
“It’s really sad to see that some of these beggars are taking the generosity of our people for granted,” Mr. Silva said yesterday.
“Take for example Pita Shane, I know him because not only do I see him begging but I see him every night sitting in front of the Chinese Shop at Vaimoso opposite from Vaimoso Primary School drinking beer there.
“This man begs in the morning and whatever money he gets from begging, he uses it to buy himself beers.
“Then he sits in front of this shop and drinks there until he is very drunk.”
Mr. Silva said he is sympathetic towards other people who are desperate and genuinely need help.
But when it comes to someone like Mr. Shane, he said it saddens him that such an able-bodied person cannot do something worthwhile to earn a living.
“I’m not saying that there are no beggars in Samoa because there are,” he said.
“My point is we know a real beggar who has no other choice to provide for themselves when we see one. “For example, there is a certain guy who has special needs. He sits in front of Eveni Carruthers asking people for money. I know that man has no other choice except begging because he is in need.
“[But] for Mr. Shane to say that he has no choice but to beg for a living is just wrong.
“He does this because he knows that this is the fastest way to earn money without dropping a sweat to earn it. So he begs and at the end of the day, he drinks with the money that he gets from begging.
“I also know for a fact that Mr. Shane is not stupid.
“He knows exactly what he is doing and he has tasted the sweetness of the money that he gets from begging. I think this is just wrong.”
On Sunday, Pita Shane said he “has no choice” but to beg.
“I badly need money,” he said. “And this is the only way I can get some money to buy things for myself.”
The 41-year-old said he wanted to start a plantation since he was never educated or qualified to get a job but his family does not have enough land for a plantation. “I love what I do and I am grateful that most people are very kind to unfortunate people like me,” he said of begging.
“A lot of people judge me and look down on me every time I ask them for money.”
He said the little money he gets from asking people goes straight into buying food for himself.
“I don’t drink beer and I only spend the money I get for food,” he said.