The relevant government ministries – especially the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) – have been urged to be extra vigilant about protecting Samoa’s natural resources.
The warning comes from businesswoman, Moe Lei Sam, who claims that the new wave of Asian business people are exploiting the country’s natural resources to the point they are poisoning fish and fresh water sources.
“I was told that they are poisoning our river streams for fresh shrimps,” she said. “I’ve seen them congregate at the swamp areas to fish up the eels and the tilapia that should be left for our people to eat.
“If they take everything, what are our people going to depend on?
“So who’s in danger? And what is being done about it?”
It was not possible to get a comment from the M.N.R.E. yesterday on claims about exploitation and poisoning claims fresh water sources for shrimps and other creatures.
But Ms. Lei Sam said there is no end to what foreigners could do to Samoa if the government is not vigilant.
She said they will exploit loopholes in the system in terms of running their businesses, and they will bleed the environment dry because they don’t care.
Ms. Lei Sam pointed to a recent investigation by the Ministry of Fisheries which found a Chinese businessman illegally harvesting sea cucumbers.
“We need some answers from the government,” she said.
“What are going to do to these people?
“Not only will they destroy the business community but they are now getting these things from our sea and exporting them to their country to get money.
“The sea and the land are our only hope. Where else are we going to earn money from?”
Ms. Lei Sam said she does not want to be a pain by speaking out all the time but she cannot keep quiet when she sees that Samoans are suffering.
“We have become a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
She places a lot of the blame on Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and his administration.
“I keep saying that our future is looking very sad. I always come across these children selling things at the wrong time of night.
“They either sell brooms “salu” or coconuts to the people, and I pity them because they have no other earnings.”
“Isn’t that enough to break your heart when you see them?
“And when we think about the new Asians taking our natural resources, doesn’t that worry you?”