Another classic Samoa moment

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

People who live in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones. 

The old adage comes to mind when one stops to carefully observe the recent comments by the Prime Minister in relation to the work of the media – especially this newspaper. 

Truth be told folks; we don’t mind. We’re used to it. You see, we’ve heard it all before and we are pretty sure it’s not going to be the last time. 

But then what else would you expect the leader of a one-party state to say? 

Isn’t this yet another classic Samoa “democracy” moment where the only solution to our problems is to hide them and make sure no one says a thing? 

Now doesn’t this remind us of this government’s handling of John Campbell’s questions about the tsunami funds a few years ago?

More recently, doesn’t it bring back memories of that 60-minute saga last year where the programme was mercilessly crucified by the government for telling the truth? And wasn’t the subject matter also rape? 

Speaking of which, didn’t the P.M. invite the programme to return in June 2017 for coverage of a new improved facility, possibly a new prison? 

What has happened to the new prison? August is nearly finished and yet absolutely nothing has changed. What if 60 Minutes were to return today? More excuses?

But this is so Samoa, isn’t it? 

We do things the Samoan way, whatever that means. 

What we do find annoying is the use of the term “ai afu” in reference to our work. 

Boy that hurts. We will not delve into its deep meaning in Samoan in this piece. 

Suffice to say, it’s not a label anyone would want to be stuck with. It’s shameful and painful. If anything, as the Prime Minister lording over a government that has developed a quite reputation for being reckless and careless with public funds, they should know a thing or two about this. 

They should ask the Chief Auditor who uncovered unbridled cases of corrupt practises within certain government bodies.

If not, why don’t they revisit the O.P.C reports, which confirmed cases of corruption and collusion among public servants to defraud public funds. 

Are those not cases of “ai afu?” So who is kidding whom here?

Today, Prime Minister Tuilaepa is unhappy about the media writing reports about the truth in Samoa. As a result, he has called them lazy and stupid for merely confirming their reports with the Police.

Funny that isn’t it? But like we’ve said, this is nothing new. 

Not so long ago, he had this to say about the Samoa Observer writers: “They should go and enlarge their brain. If not, you should hire people with big brains to write your articles.”

We don’t doubt for one moment that the government is full of extremely intelligent and well-qualified individuals. As Prime Minister Tuilaepa would proudly boast, they are all big laui’a. 

But the reality is there for all to see and is glaringly alarming. 

More and more children are becoming street vendors every day. Rape, incest, theft and all criminal offenses are on the rise in Christian-state Samoa. 

Our customary lands are under threat from policies driven by desperation. Our prized possessions such as matai titles are slowly losing their meaning because they are being bought by anyone who comes to Samoa dangling money. 

Anyone with enough money can now buy a Samoan passport.

Tourism is in a mess. Hoteliers are struggling to pay their debts because Samoa as a destination is not working. It’s way too expensive to fly to Samoa.

Rugby, a once proud sport in Samoa, has become a real pain to watch. The latest developments have been extremely shameful. 

The final nail on the coffin has been the government’s decision to tax church Ministers and the Head of State.

These are acts of desperation by a government that has been turning a blind eye to “corrupt practices,” “mismanagement” and “abuse of public money and resources,” allowing it to run amok for so long that it is now coming back to haunt them.

Who has been sitting at the helm while all this has been happening? And yet the Prime Minister has the nerve accuse other people of being “ai afu” and lazy?   Oh dear! What do you think? Write and share your thoughts with us!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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