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Samoa celebrates World Water and Forests Day

The significance of Samoa’s water and forest resources were highlighted during the commemoration of World Water and Forests Day 2019 on Friday. The ceremony was held at the Water Resources Division Field office at Vailima where the Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, who is also the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), spoke about the the importance of commemorating this annual event.

By Adel Fruean, 03/22/2019
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Opinion

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Remembering Christchurch, condemning racism starts at home

Our thoughts and prayers with residents in Christchurch, New Zealand today, as they mark a week since an Australian-born gunman walked into two mosques in the scenic city and massacred 50 people.And a lot has changed in a week since that gruesome act of human cruelty, the NZ government has stopped gun sales on Thursday, and banned military-style semi-automatic weapons, on top of initiating a buyback scheme to rid the community of guns. The reaction by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the tragedy has been nothing short of impressive, her ability to rise above and beyond, and to be the beacon of hope for her nation of over 4 million people in a time of despair and uncertainty is truly admirable.New Zealand-wide memorials are being planned for today. According to media reports, the Islamic Call to Prayer will be televised on TV and radio throughout New Zealand, to be followed by a two-minute silence. Haka performances are being planned and some women will wear headscarves – reportedly supported by the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand – as a sign of respect. White supremacists would recoil at how New Zealanders – including their inspirational Prime Minister – are responding to the callous crimes against humanity, perpetrated by those who continue to hold on to the fallacy, that they represent a superior race. And religious fanatics too, who foolishly believe that they have a higher calling to convert all and sundry, to take on and be converted to their religious beliefs, and practices.But what can we – you and me – take away from the Christchurch tragedy and impart to our children and them to their children? We must learn to live in peaceful co-existence with one another and embrace love and respect for each other – overlooking our cultural, religious, political and economic differences – and in the process becoming more tolerant and inclusive of a fellow human being.We should strongly condemn racism and the notions of superiority and refuse to accept the proposition that “we are better than them”, when it comes to discussing personal identities, nationalities and race.  And those conversations should start at home. Our children should be told that it is wrong to call another child names, in reference to the color of their skin, their physical disability or even how they look. They should be taught the concept of respect for another child, and how calling each other by their names – rather than disrespectful “labels” – can open the door to long-term friendships.Perhaps, it wasn’t a coincidence that the country – through Senese, Fia Malamalama and Loto Taumafai in partnership with the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC), Nuanua o le Alofa and Samoa Cricket Association – celebrated the World Down Syndrome Day yesterday at the Tuanaimato in Apia.Malama Parker from Senese spoke of their work, and how it is important for all of us to give those who are living with Down Syndrome, respect."We still hear people say they are ‘sick children’, even with parents. But they are not, if they were sick, they would have been given medicine and they’ll be better but no, it’s a natural effect."We need to give them the respect they deserve; we should not underestimate them," she said.Ms Parker also spoke about the need for parents to put them in school."This is what our services are all about and what today’s all about; to encourage the parents that the children to attend schools because they can and they are able to attend schools.”But there are parents who are not comfortable putting their children with Down Syndrome in school, to avoid placing them in a vulnerable environment where the risks of abuse are high. The New Zealand PM on Wednesday reportedly made a global appeal to combat the “ideology” of racism, following last Friday’s attack."What New Zealand experienced here was violence brought against us by someone who grew up and learned their ideology somewhere else. If we want to make sure globally that we are a safe and tolerant and inclusive world we cannot think about this in terms of boundaries," she said.We support the call and firmly believe that conversation should start at home, between the parents and their children and with no stones unturned. If you and I cannot do it then who else will in our strive to create a better and peaceful world?Have a lovely Friday Samoa and God bless. 

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Street Talk

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Public support EPC employee drug test proposal

To me I think it’s something worth doing because it’s not appropriate for them to be on drugs while working or while serving the country. Another thing is in any ministry or any country, everyone working in those ministries are strictly not allowed to use drugs while on duty. These drug tests should be done in the Ministries from now on.There is a belief by some that the use of drugs helps develop and awakens the mind while doing something but what is more important? It’s the safety of our people. I would go 50/50 on this if I were to choose which option to support. It’s because I believe in the role of marijuana for example, I believe that it can wake you and keep you up. But if you overdo it that’s where it gets worse, especially since it can affect the lives of the public and colleagues.Personally, I think it’s what we should have been doing. This is a major problem that has been taking the lives of our people here and it’s all because of alcohol and drugs. These are exactly the things that have kept some families apart because of death and why? Because it’s either they get drunk or are too high on drugs while driving. Car crashes on the road because of reckless driving is now common in Samoa and we cannot let these things happen again, so I strongly support this new strategy of drug test in the Ministries.It’s important to protect the public on the road, in case someone loses a life again from reckless driving caused by alcohol and drugs. Not only that, it can also protect colleagues from losing their lives on the job. Some lack rational when it comes to these things, but it’s these things (drugs). I think it would be nice to have drug tests early in the morning, before they start the day at work.It’s true some people working for EPC are on drugs as I had a brother who worked for the EPC. I know a lot about the issue with their vehicles causing accidents on the road, so it’s very important not just for EPC but also other Ministries' employees to undergo drug tests. Another thing the Ministries should be doing is to collect the car keys right after they clock out, because I also noticed that it’s after work that I always see these vehicles flashing here and there to show-off.I support the application of drug tests inside the Ministries because I know there were heaps of accidents before involving alcohol and drugs and lives were lost. Innocent lives, people who went to buy sugar for their families, suddenly got run over by a car. Kids playing around the road, just happened to end up lying in their graves at such early ages. These are the kinds of accidents we’ll always be facing if we don’t emphasise doing drug tests of motorists.

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Letter to Editor

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“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…”

Me thinks Pr. Samoa Unoi of the Peace Chapel Christian Fellowship protests far too much when found out about his involvement with cryptocurrency. And in spite of his job description, I find nothing peaceful about his language. It’s also hard to believe he does not really care about the money he invests in cryptocurrency as he repeatedly claims. It only makes one wonder about the origin of such money. As for his rave against government interfering in how he spends money, the good pastor ought to know that the Central Bank of Samoa is duty bound to warn the people of Samoa about money scams that come to Samoa from overseas. The Bank is only doing its job as all good shepherds should.And in any case, the Central Bank did not tell the good preacher what to do with his money or with his flock’s money for that matter. What the Bank did was give a blanket warning about the dangers of these shady get-rich-quick money schemes, in the same way it warns people about pyramid schemes and counterfeit currency. And the good pastor may not be concerned about throwing money away, which incidentally is not what a faithful steward would do with heaven’s blessings. But most people do, and they will find the Central Bank’s warning of great value in avoiding being scammed. In fact, this is not the first time the good preacher has publicly shared his thoughts about money. The first time was to oppose the government’s proposal to tax church ministers like himself. He did not want to pay taxes and is one of only a few church ministers that spoke out publicly on the subject. As for Pr. Unoi’s claims about losing money by investing in UTOS, if true, he would be among a very select few who have had that happen to them. It makes you wonder whether the good preacher is not confusing UTOS with some other get-rich-quick scheme he is dabbling in.But no wonder the Good Shepherd told his followers to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth, nor rust doth corrupt, or where thieves do not break through nor steal” And if He was around on earth today, Jesus will no doubt have included as well all ge- rich-Squick scammers and prophets.F.S. SheepSamoa.

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