Greed poisons the mind, destroys great intentions

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 16 September 2017, 12:00AM

The past couple of weeks have been great for Samoa. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Some wonderful things have been said about this country that we should all take pride in.

For instance, high profile visitors and tourists alike have been impressed so much by Samoa’s casual openness and seemingly faultless generosity that they’ve been doing little else than singing our praises.

Even when they’ve returned to their home countries, some of them are unable to shake the good memories off that they’ve written letters we have published on these expressing how grateful they were for the wonderful times they’d spent here. What’s more, at a time where there is chaos, strife and tensions everywhere, our environment of peace and political stability is unrivalled.

Which is fantastic. Who doesn’t feel a jolt of pride raising the spirits high when he’s being praised immodestly this way? Don’t we become more nationalistically strong, more united and enormously optimistic?

Of course we should.

But we shouldn’t be complacent either. Wherever there is mountain there will always be a valley. And in Samoa, we are not immune from the challenges and these global problems.

We are at the crossroads when it comes to a lot of issues. In fact, looking at so many problems surrounding us today, whether it’s economical, social or spiritual, we have to accept that wherever there is good, evil will surely be lurking around the corner.

It goes without saying that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Just as not all that glitters is gold, as the old adage goes.

When we stop to look at Samoa today, it must be said we have come a long way. The development in a number of areas has been impressive. But at what cost? 

Think of the foreign debt for instance. And think of the desperate measures being put in place by the government to try and plug that hole. 

Have you ever stopped and wondered about all these fees being increased left, right and centre? They keep telling us that it is part of government reforms, but really? When it comes to the issue of debt, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi’s administration has maintained there is nothing to worry about. Further, they claim the debt has been necessary otherwise the development would still be stuck several years to 1985. 

It’s a well-rehearsed response, one that has obviously worked well for the government since they keep reverting to it. Whether it’s the truth or not, you can be the judge.

But here’s the wonderful thing about numbers. They don’t lie and these numbers are alarming. In 1982 when H.R.P.P came into power, the country’s debt was $15million. Today, that has ballooned to close to $2billion if not more by now?

Should we be concerned? Absolutely.

“We have a situation from this current government, where our generation and four generations down will still pay that loan,” Tuilaepa has been warned. 

This debt will not suddenly disappear and someone will have to pay it. Our children’s children will be paying it in years to come. 

But then we are already seeing the cost. The debate about customary land is not just a hot potato issue; it is a very real struggle. It’s an issue promoted by a government that is desperate. All these increases in services and what have would not have been necessary if our government was not encroaching the red zone in terms of debts.

Should we blame them for development?

No and yes. We’ve said this before but we will say it again: Good intentions are not necessarily the best intentions? Good intentions are sometimes wrong? Good intentions are at times evil? Believe it or not, good intentions are corruptible.

The word greed comes to mind. Think about all the governments around the world. No government ever gets into power on the promise to destroy its people. And yet that’s precisely what they do when they are voted in. 

They become greedy so that they shut their minds, ears and eyes from the suffering of the majority. In the process, they gather everything for themselves.

Greed slowly but surely gets the better of them as they sweet talk their way with plenty of good intentions into our pockets.

Is that happening in Samoa today?

We hear people talk about how Samoa has developed and how far we have come as a country. Fine. 

But when was the last time we checked what would become of it in the future, given the rate the government is continuing today? What happens when our children will no longer be able to afford to pay this debt, when all these leaders of today are gone? What’s the future for them? 

Have restful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 16 September 2017, 12:00AM

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