It may be shiny but who will pay the bill?
Big fancy buildings popping here and there, new roads, brand new cars for officials and so on are all great and shiny but the question Peni Setefano has is, who will pay for all these developments?
Hailing from the village of Si’usega, the 72-year-old man says that the country is in debt and with all the loans our government makes to pay for new developments, it will be left to the children to pay the bill.
Peni continued on to explain how the high cost of living will only get higher for the future generation because the government will have to increase taxes to pay off some of the debts.
This, Peni explains, makes him sad whenever he looks into his children’s eyes.
“People get easily fooled by all the fancy and shiny developments and they don’t realize who will really suffer in the long run,” he began.
“The children of the future will suffer and have to deal with the issue of having to pay all the debts that our government creates. People say that Samoa’s development is great and all but that’s not the point.
“Right now, the cost of living is very high but it is only going to get higher for our children, so they will suffer more.”
Peni expressed how worried he is for the children.
“For me personally, I am very worried and I feel very sorry for my children,” he said.
“When we pass on, our children will be left with the mess we create and it’s very sad. They are in charge of the future of Samoa and so they will either have to fix things we break, or make it worse.
“With the cost of living already high right now, families can barely make ends meet with one family member holding a steady job.”
With only one person in his family holding a steady job, Peni says that it’s very hard as it is, but things look to be getting worse with the debt we have to pay off.
Another issue is that people aren’t allowed to express these issues freely because of fears of getting penalized by the village council.
“For my family, we only have one person with a job,” he said.
“To tell you the truth, even with a small family, we don’t make nearly enough money. I am sure there are many in this country who will agree with me with how expensive things are at the stores.
“I also know that there are many people who want to voice this issue but our traditions don’t allow it. We live in a country that allows free speech.
“But that’s the problem; our Prime Minister won’t know the issues we face every day if we just sit around.”
At the end of the day, Peni says there’s nothing much an ordinary man can do but hope for the best.
“But yes, this is life for us,” he said.
“Once we get a glimpse of money then it’s gone the next second. That’s because the cost of living is just way too high for the ordinary folk who don’t make a lot.
“Most of the things we buy is done through credit that we can’t afford to pay later. The money we get goes straight towards paying off our I.O.U. then later on we have to buy on credit again.
“My request to the government is to please, take notice of our struggles.”