Signs on the road tell us that Japan is funding the water pipes being installed on Cross Island Road and we also know that the same country funds many other projects such as the rebuilding and refurbishment of schools and a little further back in time, the building of the seawall and the National University of Samoa to name a few
But wait, there’s more.
Then we have New Zealand and Australia who pay for Samoan children’s school fees, provide scholarships and undertake a myriad of other vital projects involving personnel and equipment for our citizens.
And, like Japan, they also provide consultants and volunteers to assist in needed sectors.
Then we have the ‘johnny-come-lately’ countries like China – big time scholarship donors and those super, supersoft loans. To be fair, we do reciprocate by providing jobs for their unskilled population to build our “Samoan skyscrapers” some which boast their own paddling pools. And suddenly with China in the picture, Samoa became a place of interest for a few U.S. dollars - in projects for example like naval patrols which allowed the U.S. to keep an eye on what China is up to. Previously, the U.S. was content for their Charge d’Affaires to simply send boring reports to the C.I.A. centre, Langley and to attend the usual round of obligatory cocktail parties. No longer.
Remember, these are just the big players amongst our many ‘friends’.
Throw in the European Union and other smaller players from Asia, Canada and South America and you begin to realize how many friends we actually have.
We almost have the world covered.
Lucky us, you may say.
But then, like the girl who is suddenly really popular but lacks self confidence, the question arises for Samoa, why does everyone like me and what do they want?
And the other irritating question is “So if those countries are all paying for that, where are Samoan taxes going?”
The answer to that is: failed projects which will never generate income – too numerous to list again, think wharves, markets etc; outrageous spending and mismanagement, think office decors, using middle men to procure items; and strategic funding to retain loyalty – think Associate Ministers perks and the pulenuu set up.
And as for that third question, how will we pay back all the supersoft loans, that answer dear reader, will literally be left for another day.