In hindsight...

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 17 July 2017, 12:00AM

Hindsight and perspective are great assets. 

Sometimes when you step outside the circle and look in at what’s happening, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to understand and comprehend what’s going on. This is as opposed to when we become so caught up in the details we lose the bigger picture.

There is no doubt that Samoa is undergoing some monumental changes. These are interesting times, days to define the future of this nation. 

But what are all these changes? Are they really necessary? Or are they just a big act of diversion to sidetrack our attention from what is really going on?

You see, they come promising heaven and earth. They talk about these big words as if they invented them. But do they really mean it? And how do we know?

Sometime last year in an editorial titled “Negligence? Honesty? Justice?,” this writer raised some thought-provoking questions for our readers to ponder upon. Looking at what’s happening in Samoa today, we can’t help but be drawn back to those questions. 

This is because it seems that everything is being turned upside down at the whim of certain people who have over the years refused to do the right thing – and the very actions responsible for a lot of our problems today. 

We want to re-share these thoughts with you today with the idea that we take time to think deeply and carefully about what is unfolding before us in this very moment. Sometime ago, this is what this column said: 

Folks, the truth is simple enough. All this talk from some of our leaders about the negligence of others, the truth, God and justice sounds all so hollow. 

We say this for the simple reason that we have a government that is telling everyone to be honest, talks about justice and mentions God ever so frequently when we know very well that little has been done to address the issues of collusion and corrupt practices in the public service that are hurting our poor people.

This corruption is screaming at us to be fixed. Now. Please. Ironically, these very same people have been calling others negligent, dishonest – among other very colourful words. 

Okay so they might have a point but seriously. The nerve! Let’s not try and remove the speck on another person’s eye when there is log there that needs to bulldozered out so they could at least see clearly.

Indeed, when we stop to observe some of the comments thrown back and forth by our leaders, it’s hard not to say that maybe there is a method in thy madness. 

Maybe there is a deliberate ploy to sidetrack and divert the attention so far away from the fact that public servants had colluded to defraud public funds, to the tune of millions. 

In this country today, we have some real problems. There is no doubt about that. Our foreign debt has skyrocketed through the roof to the point where we should be really concerned. The major banks and some of our biggest funders have been warning us for years. How long more will we continue to ignore them?

Our economy is struggling. Exports figures are shoddy, tourism numbers look very worrying and the agriculture sector doesn’t exactly give us much hope either.  

And yet it just baffles the mind that no effort is being made whatsoever to try and recover – let alone hold public officials to account – for the abuse of power and positions we are well aware of.

Such abuse has cost this country millions. In one instance, more than half a million tala was spent on a lousy office that is now there useless.  In other instances, multiple-millions were wasted on buildings that are now standing there idle, where nobody wants to have anything to do with them.

Then there is millions wasted on white elephant projects that are just rotting to the ground as we look on. These monies could have been used to pay for medical supplies, more doctors, better teachers and help some of those poor families who basically live on the streets to make a tala or two to get by. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking about unbridled abuse identified in the Chief Auditor and Controller’s report that have since been confirmed by the Officers of Parliament Committee. 

“Documentary evidences” have been presented to prove that public servants had indeed colluded to defraud public funds. What more do they want? 

Perhaps they need a message from heaven?

We repeat, we have a government that continues to blame the world for our problems to the point where the blame game has become so ridiculous. 

But why has it not stopped to consider the impact of these instances of wrongdoing and abuse on our finances and this nation as a whole? 

Lastly, our Constitution is being changed every day on these shores. Our ancestors would fail to even recognise what it is today. What’s more the manner with which sacred appointments have been made has become ridiculed. 

These are sad times. These are very challenging times.

Where do we come in?

It’s simple. We need to be alert. Let’s not be sidetracked and lose sight of what matters. That is if the blind leads the blind, we all know the most likely ending. And let’s not kid ourselves, the same goes for the crooked people who condone wrongdoing and legitimise systematic corruption as if it’s normal. 

Think about it. 

Have a good Tuesday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 17 July 2017, 12:00AM

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