How we can fix the threat to safety and security in Samoa

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Dear Editor, 

In response to your “Safety and security under threat” article dated May 6, 2018, I offer my herein assessment: 

Problem: 

To address the “idleness” pandemic, various factors exist accordingly, namely, unemployment to be the primary cause; lack of resources; breakdown of the family unit; low morale, lack of trust and confidence in government, church, authority figures/leaders and the overall governing body; absence of communication and role models; lack of respect in law and order; distorted perceptions of reality fueled by in-house/domestic strife, ill-will, and personal vendettas, to name a few. 

Solution: 

Goal/Objective 1: 

Theme: “Everyone has a role to play. From the Police officers, government workers, church workers, village leaders to young boys and girls all over Samoa.” 

STOP the blaming game now! It is destructive and futile. It creates walls, barriers and it divides. 

Goal/Objective 2: 

Get on your knees and give thanks for being alive. Give honor and glory to God for the blessings you have received, including suffering. Suffering is part of life and our Lord exemplified that on the Cross. The end of that was a resounding victory. Between the path of suffering and victory is the process of your character being shaped. Your choices are your own and the path you choose should be a reality check to make needed changes. Rest assure that Christ has already shown the victory and He was Victorious. We must persevere in carrying our own Crosses. 

Goal/Objective 3: 

Return to the basics: a) check yourself that you are not being self-righteous; b) pray for each other, family, leader, and country; c) forgive yourself so that you will heal properly; d) watch your words because they cut deeply and the scars burn brightly; e) remove yourself from gossip and bad company; f) walk humbly and righteous before the Lord and He will keep you in the latter days; g) labor quietly and silently and offer your works to God. He has already awarded you before you uttered a word; h) give thanks for every blessing and weather the storm and trials patiently; it is God’s timing not ours; i) in season and out of season, praise God worthily because within a “heartbeat” is how He can turn things around, favorably or unfavorably; j) put God first, and allow His mighty hand to move, including drowning and removing evildoers, just to name a few. 

Goal/Objective 4 (Economic Solution:) 

i. Use the “Theme” to create a video or a promotional tool for community/public outreach campaign. Create and send a message that we are “ONE, as a people, culture and nation.” Build harmony and stir confidence to boost morale.

ii. Use the “Theme” to gain traction and support from every village/matai/council. Engage in genuine and sincere dialogue. Keep pride and “know-it-all” attitudes in check. Listen and then address it. The overall campaign should be about every voice matters, and we need help to address it. This is about the existence of Samoa, NOT any political ideologues or individual superiority.

iii. Based on financial figures and stats (URLcited above,) agriculture was consistent in positive increase in four (4) consecutive quarters:
“Agriculture produced a total value of $34.3 million in real terms, increasing by 6.8% in the period under review. This makes it the fourth quarter of positive growth for the sector, contributing a 0.4 percentage points to overall growth in the period. The sector has a share of 7.8% to total nominal GDP. The sector’s performance was consistent with the increase in quantities on many of the agricultural produce supplied to the markets such as Taro (up by 121%), Taamu (up by 60%), Coconut (up by 19%), Cucumber (up by 19%) and Tomatoes (up by 11%) compared to same quarter of previous year.”

iv. The positive growth of agricultural commodity is indicative of the strong performance of farmers and their plantations. This unit must be promoted, supported and market aggressively. As an indication of such, each village who possesses land must utilize it for development of some sort. Every person in the village must contribute to the development of their land, as to sustain and support their livelihood. This is an opportunity where the government can assist by offering incentives through forms of a small stipend or a grant.

v. Each village council should identify their own problems and bring it to the table. They should hold each other with utmost respect; they should be accountable to one another; they should have a code of honor amongst themselves that responsibility is laid at everyone’s feet and everyone must contribute.

Goal/Objective 5 (Economic Solution:) 

i. According to the financial figures/stats, the closing of the YAZAKI plant after 26 years of service in Samoa created a vacuum hole that impacted the overall economy negatively because of other associated units/variables who were suppliers to the manufacturing plant. There is an opportunity; however, for another potential manufacturer to relocate to Samoa and open shop. We shouldn’t lose hope on this. If we can bring in two major manufacturers to Samoa, we 

could offset a lot of unemployed and abled bodies. 

ii. Encourage landowners to have discussions on how to invest through means of
leasing to the government or to private investors. Get an attorney involved to create an ironclad agreement that protects the landowners’ rights, as well as receiving a profit from it. Do your due diligence and ask help from family members. Don’t go in it alone.

 

iii. Each village should create curfew hours and hold parents’ accountable for their children not being in school. This requires a lot of compassion, understanding, patience and full support from family and the entire village. Should the village decide to work with the government in leasing their land, tie in a percentage within the contract for afterschool and daycare programs to accommodate the child(ren) while parents are at work.

iv. Not everyone is meant to go to college, but every child deserves an education. It is important for the government to work with the village council to create some form of vocational and career training, and subsequently build in some incentives for motivation. For example, each village should conduct a townhall meeting to Q&A the needs of the community. They should have a business plan so to speak; they should conduct surveys; they should support and broach any matter with genuine concern, and especially to address any village discrepancy(ies) that occur.

v. Each village council should work side by side with law enforcement to ensure safety. There should be ongoing respectful dialogues. Seek counseling, if necessary - to address the issues of domestic abuse or any abuse. These personal issues should not be viewed as bringing shame to the family or community, but rather, address it head on with courage and forgiveness. Stop condemning and judging. It is destructive and it doesn’t bring healing. It hinders growth.

All in all, this is a snapshot of basic observation(s) and constructive criticisms. We, as a people of culture, can and will overcome anything as long as we are united under the common goal of protecting our people and land. 

God Bless Samoa and her leaders!

 

Respectfully,

Nafanua Salamasina Malia Seiuli So’o Muagututi’a

© Samoa Observer 2016

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