Alone and unafraid, outspoken businesswoman Moe Lei Sam has called out Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi for his language and inability to find a solution for the child vendors issue.
On the front page of the Sunday Samoan, in the article titled “P.M. blasts Media,” the P.M claimed the media sensationalised and dug up old footage of children beating up a homeless person to “fill the paper.”
But what angered Mrs. Lei Sam was his reference to the toilet.
Said Tuilaepa: “The government doesn’t have to do everything, that’s the responsibility of parents and families. So when we have a law like that, we will be worse off than communist countries. It means that every time you want to go to the toilet you have to ask for permission.”
Mrs. Lei Sam said this is not the language of a leader.
“When I read that part about the toilet, that was it. It really got me.
“I thought that our Prime Minister should never talk like that in the newspaper. That’s disgusting because the newspaper is now global and its putting Samoa down.
“Look at the attention we got from him. It’s disgusting and I was so angry about it”
“I heard someone say, “Well it’s not his children.”
“Well whether it’s his children or not, he is the father of the nation and we need to get a better example. He needs to go examine himself and get a checkup.
“My whole life I’ve never ever heard a Prime Minister mention any toilet. My goodness! That’s all I want to say about it. It’s making me sick .I don’t know about the rest. How can a father of a country talk like that?”
Not being swayed by the P.M.’s comments on the issue of child vendors, Ms. Lei Sam is determined as ever to find a solution to help these children. Especially with school starting again, Ms. Lei Sam is concerned about the fate of these children who hang around her store in Saleufi.
“School is starting in two weeks time and it’s going to be the same thing all over again, no school. What can we do it about it?”
“I just wish people would have guts to get up and do something about it.
“Like the Prime Minister said, this is not the government’s job. Then whose job is it? It’s got to this stage where, people listen to the Prime Minister. Nobody listens to us; where else can we go for help? Maybe the people of Samoa will listen to the Prime Minister. Where can we go for help? He’s the only one who should help us.”
As a mother and businesswoman, Mrs. Lei Sam also voiced concerns about the nighttime activities of the youth that could also affect her business.
“I can’t ignore it! They’re in front of my shop everyday!”
“This is where most of the kids are. A lot of shops have kids in front of their shops. I haven’t had any problems in front of the shop but I’m waiting for something to happen. Every night I finish work; I sit there waiting because they hang around the pizza place. They hang around until 11 at night. I’m afraid they’ll start a fight and throw rocks and I’ll end up as the victim from these kind of issues.”