Whoever wins the General Elections must work hard to address unemployment in Samoa.
That’s the opinion of Sala Iose McCarthy, an aspiring politician who hopes to do just that if he wins the Elections.
Sala is contesting the Gagaemauga No 1 seat, currently occupied by the Minister of Police and Prisons, Sala Fata Pinati.
The 68-year-old is standing for the Tautua Samoa Party.
“One of the key issues I would like to focus on is the area of unemployment in Samoa,” said Sala. “We need to create more jobs for our young people. Too many of them are unemployed.”
According to him, the government should make it their priority to create employment opportunities for the young people who are loafing around, doing nothing.
Jobs help young people contribute to their families and ultimately their communities. It will also help restore pride in themselves and their communities, he said.
Having stayed in New Zealand for a long time, Sala said the lack of employment opportunities was very apparent when he returned home.
As he prepares for the election, Sala said his focus on addressing the issue starts in his village. One of the projects he has in mind is to set up a vocational school in the village to train and upskill young people who have dropped out of school. This will give them the necessary skills to go out and find a job.
Eventually, Samoa will have its owned skilled workforce to avoid having to bring in foreigners who are taking up all the jobs, Sala believes.
The candidate said he is extremely disappointed about foreign companies bringing their own labourers while hundreds of Samoans are unemployed.
These jobs, he said, should be reserved for locals.
“So I believe that if our young people are educated and qualified to do the work, we can say to the companies to stop bringing their labourers from overseas,” he said. “At the same time, we create employment opportunities and stimulate the economy by ourselves.”
Sala is also looking at other opportunities.
“When we look at Fiji, it is a Pacific country and their people are getting a lot of opportunities with the Military,” he said. “We work very closely with American Samoa and their people are benefitting a lot from the U.S military. As a country, why don't we ask American Samoa to help us with similar opportunities?”
Asked about his preparations, Sala said the support of his constituency has been tremendous, something that has really overwhelmed him. The constituency is split between Upolu and Savai’i. He said when he visited Savai’i, he noted a lot of developments that were needed.
For example, the access road is in dire need of repairs, he said. There are other areas of development he is keen to improve.
Sala is the founder of McCarthy Plasterers Ltd, Wellington, N.Z. The company has been operating since 1978. In 2006, he handed the ownership of the company to his sons before he moved to Samoa.
Sala is a former president of the Newtown Boxing Club in Wellington, N.Z from 1998 to 2002.
From 1996 to 2007 he became the president of the Lea’uva’a Community in Wellington N.Z.
In 2011 to 2014 he was elected as Vice-President of the Executive for the Tautua Samoa Party in Samoa. He has held the role of the President of the Executive for the Tautua Samoa Party from 2014 to 2015.