60 Minutes, the P.M. and the safety issue

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Dear Editor,

There was nothing wrong with the 60 Minutes reporting. 

What is wrong is the negligence of our Prime Minister and his government, as there is no excuse for the poor standard of prison security in Samoa. 

It shows how this so called H.R.P.P. government misuses the phrase human rights protection as a mere political slogan.

Unfortunately, it’s undeniable the absurdity of the prime minister’s responses during the interview with 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett. 

Why did Tuilaepa have to do this interview? 

Why not the responsible Minister of Police and Prisons? 

By getting in front of the camera, it tells everyone that the prime minister has no confidence in his minister. Sadly, it also showcased the prime minister as someone who is ill-advised, half-witted and sluggish!

The real issue is undeniable. Tuilaepa’s government has not dealt with basic security of the prisons. As a result, Tuilaepa’s government is accountable and responsible for the harrowing ordeal and rape of the Australian tourists, the hacking of the Chinese businessman, and the safety of the community as a whole.

Remember 2009 when 41 prisoners commandeered a bus armed with knives. In 2010 a Report on Human Rights Practices highlighted the poor standards and safety facilities of Tafa’igata prison. In 2015 a similar report highlighted the very issue of recurring prison escapes.

Still the government has taken no definitive and swift action. It beggars belief that the government proactively promotes tourism, enticing visitors from overseas, when security and safety is clearly not a priority. Bartlett correctly points out that the security fence at Tafaigata is pathetic! 

Well it has been woeful for over 100 years.

Suffice to say the government’s attitude to safety is worse than pathetic! Undoubtedly Tuilaepa and his government have been dismissive of the prison facilities and human rights issues at Tafaigata prison, as well as the safety of the community and tourists.

The Prime Minister should really think twice about going on air for programmes such as 60 Minutes. It’s not his cup of tea and he has a moral obligation to make Samoa look good in the eyes of the world. 

Remember Campbell live? By going on air as he did, it showed his lack of communication skills and inability to face the camera competently. He was made to look like a fool. 

Anyone who watched this 60 Minutes programme would think all Samoans are idiots. It’s embarrassing and insulting. Trying to deflect blame to the media when it’s clear as daylight his government has failed miserably in protecting the public and visitors from convicted criminals is a feeble and deplorable excuse. 

And it’s too late for the Office of Press Secretariat to issue an unconvincing statement after the 60 Minutes program was aired. 

But that just confirms the backward and reactive nature of this government. 

How about showing some class and competence, and implement actions to demonstrate real empathy to human rights and safety for a change?

R.K

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