Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has issued a caution to parents as the nation prepares to honour fathers on Father’s Day weekend.
Speaking during his weekly media programme, Tuilaepa urged parents not to pressure their children into spending money they don’t have for fathers.
“I might be wrong but I know that for some fathers, he only wants a kiss from his children’s mother on the cheek after church and a kiss on the forehead from his children,” he said.
“But the palagi mindset has affected Samoa.”
The Prime Minister did not explain what he meant by palagi mindset. But he said people should only spend what they have. “What we need to look at is spending accordingly and wisely,” he said.
“Stop wanting more than what our children can afford. Some fathers curse their children when they don’t give them enough money but that is exactly how their daughters end up in jail, especially if they work in a bank.”
The caution from Prime Minister Tuilaepa comes as thousands run around Apia doing last minute shopping for tomorrow.
In Samoa, it is a given that Fathers Day, Mothers Day and White Sunday are expensive weekends.
The celebrations are occasions to behold for most not only because of the long weekend but it brings families together once in a while for big feasts.
However, with each of these celebrations come a hefty cost mostly ignored. This has landed some people in jail.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa believes fathers have a vital role in guiding their families to the right path.
According to Tuilaepa parents, especially fathers, are demanding more from their children for church contributions, matai obligations, bottles of beer, cigarette and school fees. This comes on top of weekly loan repayments the children were forced to make to satisfy the whims of their parents.
“If you watch the Ola Toe Fuataina choir from prison, a lot of them are young women,” he pointed out.
“The most important thing for fathers is to live accordingly and plan wisely. We all need to have this foresight and wisdom…”
Planning means that a person who earns $400 a week should have enough to feed the family and not depend on loans. Sadly that is the reality of things.
“The palagi mindset is affecting us. If your daughter gets paid $400 tala, she spends $100 on loan at Housing, another $100 for a loan at the Development Bank, additional $100 loan at S.C.B, she is left with $50. It’s likely that the $45tala will go to another loan at B.S.P. and she ends up with $5tala in her hand to feed her husband and ten children.”
Tuilaepa warned that once a person has reached this level of desperation, the next thing they will do is steal.
“They will steal money because she or he did not plan well and had spent all the wages on loans.”
Recalling the recent police graduation he attended, Tuilaepa said he had stressed the importance of police officers of planning and spending accordingly.
“I told them to plan and not just spend it all,” he said. If this is the police officer that earns $400 and has $5tala left from the week’s pay, all they are going to do is break the law.
“The Court files will go missing and charges are dropped and the negligent drivers are not being charged because you are living off what they give you.”
Tuilaepa reiterated the importance of fathers asking for less from their children.
With Samoa being a church going country, Tuilaepa said the church minister’s have also forgotten their role.
“That is what’s happening in Samoa – parents have forgotten their role and church Minister’s have also forgotten their work to teach Bible teachings. The reason why we lose our children is because of negligence on our part.”
Tuilaepa pointed out that most families have forgotten a tradition of evening prayers.
He said during that time children are called to attend the prayers with their parents.
“But if there is no evening prayer and the children are not at home during dinner time then it means they are being O.B.O. at Fugalei and Vaimoso. The village council is being blamed when it’s the parents negligence on their part in looking after their children.”