An irate member of the public, Christian Charles Rasmussen, of Samea Mulifanua, has blasted the behavior of the authorities over road safety and their failure to be consistent in their decision-making.
He has singled out the Land Transport Authority (L.T.A.) and the Traffic Division of the Police, accusing them of failing to monitor road safety properly.
“Everyday I see buses with overloaded passengers where I live,” he said. “I see most buses with people hanging out of the door and yet the Police and the L.T.A. don’t do anything about it.”
What really annoyed Mr. Rasmussen though is their habit of picking on members of the public during their frequent road blocks – when they are not doing anything about the buses, he said.
“It all started three years ago when I came to Samoa. I was stopped at Faleolo airport on my way to Apia and then getting to Apia I was stopped again but for no reason.
“I have a valid driver’s license and most of the police and L.T.A. officers there know me but they still stopped me but they don’t stop the buses that are overloaded.
“One day, I drove to a shop to get some shopping and then I was stopped again. On my way back home, I was again stopped by the same people who stopped me on my way to the shop
“This is nonsense and I had put up with it for a while but now I’m getting sick and tired of being stopped every time I am in my car driving but for no reason and these people think it’s a joke. It’s a disgrace to the uniform.”
Mr. Rasmussen became so unhappy he visited the L.T.A Office.
“Now I have just been to L.T.A. and spoke to some people there,” he said.
“I also saw the C.E.O. of L.T.A. speaking to the media saying that having buses that are overloaded will be a $100 fine for the bus driver and for every passenger that is over the limit is a fine of $100 as well.
“Now what on earth are these guys doing here? We have the L.T.A .and then we have the Police. So who enforces the law when it comes to these overloaded buses?
“These people are breaking the law because there are buses passes right under their noses and yet they are not doing anything about it.
“It’s not a good reflection on Samoa where we have laws and it’s only selectively enforce. That is where the corruption is.” Mr. Rasmussen said it would be great for the authorities to clarify who enforces what and when.
”The thing is, I don’t know who this law comes under whether it’s the L.T.A. or the Police.
“It is also a conflict of interest because we have the L.T.A. and the Police doing exactly the same thing by violating the law”. The Samea resident said he is sick and tired of getting stopped by the people who are not doing their jobs
“I am sick and tired of getting stopped by these guys all the time but then again I am seeing the law being broken by the same people who think they are enforcing it,” he said.
“I will not tolerate this kind of behaviour again and I will not stand by and do nothing about it.
“I am looking from a law enforcement perspective and I know we adopt a lot of laws that New Zealand has which is fair enough because every road is almost like New Zealand and Australia.
“But I want to ask why adopt laws that people will only take one look at it and say it’s a joke, they better smarten up.”
The disappointed citizen said he knows he will be criticised by so many people because of his concerns but it’s something that he should have done a long time ago.
“They have to draw a line somewhere because do they really have to stop a guy that they know lives down there and has a valid license, so what is the point?” he said. “You see my point is they choose to enforce when it suits them but they don’t really do anything when people’s lives are threatened. They just don’t care.
“The culture of the Police has to change whether they like it or not we have to play it by the western rules. “The Samoan police did not create their police force they created the police force under the law that were adopted by the Samoan government when the New Zealand government was here.
“This whole thing needs to be clean up and if it means for me to open my mouth and expose then so be it,” he said.
“I hope they do read my concerns and my reasons of being here, and I hope I do make a change and it has taken me three years to come to the paper because enough is enough.
“Someone has to initiate this and I hope the police and the L.T.A gets to read this and do something about their law and enforce it fully.”