Re: A legacy we do not want to pass on to our children
In your editorial, you said: “Our land is under threat from policies driven by desperation, our prized possessions such as matai titles are losing their meaning because they are being given to any Tom, Dick and Harry who comes to Samoa dangling money, and now our citizenships can be bought.”
The government has nothing to do with matai titles being split 50 or 100 ways. That is purely down to Samoan families deciding to split their titles (mostly as a fundraising exercise).
As for citizenships, it is no different to other countries seeking to attract foreign investors. New Zealand has a very similar fast-track immigration policy for citizenships on foreign investors who meet certain economic conditions.
Samoa’s business sector has always been dominated by foreigners and those descended from foreigners. The only difference is that it was the palagi and afakasi palagi that dominated in the past. Now there is a fear that the Chinese might start dominating and some people clearly don’t like it.
As long as all those foreigners (or their offspring) assimilate into Samoa and become Samoans, I am fine with it.
I agree that it is very important that the new citizens become Samoans instead of having a Fiji situation where two distinct racial groups (Indians and itaukei) stand apart from each other and never integrate.
Samoa has a good history of integrating foreigners though. The Europeans and Chinese who were brought to Samoa in the colonial period became Samoans, their offspring became Samoans, and the country is better for it.
Thousands of Samoans leave for New Zealand and Australia every year.
Those people need to be replaced with people who actually trigger economic growth here in Samoa. We cannot rely on remittances forever.