Troubleshooter Tuilaepa, the Police and the curse called violence

By Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa 27 November 2016, 12:00AM

Now that Samoa’s preeminent troubleshooter, Honorable Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, has stepped in to clean up the mess in which the Police Department has been allowing itself to remain bogged down over the years, how on earth is he going to get the job done?

It would be interesting to know.

After all, since the widely held assumption is that all those officers in there are his children anyway, why is he turning this seemingly insubstantial fracas into a mountain of a problem, when all he should do is tell them to quit the silly infighting and get the job done the only way it should be done!

Poor Tuilaepa. Who wants to be a lousy prime minister for sixteen lousy years if this is the sort of nonsense one has to deal with all the time! Personally, I would rather be a pauper begging on the streets of Apia than having to deal with this sort of nonsense if you really want to know.

Now in case you haven’t read it, this is the relevant portion of what the Prime Minister’s Office said:

“The Hon. Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, will now assume responsibility for the Fire and Emergency Services Authority as well as take on the duties for the Ministry of Police.”

“Responsibility for Samoa Police had traditionally fallen under the purview of the Prime Minister.”

“The decision to change these portfolios and return oversight of Samoa Police back to the Prime Minister, reaffirms the importance placed on law and order and in keeping Samoa a peaceful nation.”

“Keeping Samoa a peaceful nation.” A good line, no doubt.

Would it not make an appropriate slogan now that this country is being torn apart slowly and yet surely by abject violence?  

Salaifulu Lavata’i, 76, of Fagaloa, has a word to say about the cause of this violence we are talking about here.

The reason, he told the Samoa Observer’s Village Voice, is that Samoa’s once most emulated shining example called respect – or fa’alolao – is heading irrefutably towards extinction. (S.O. 26 November 2016.)

Salaifulu said: “I am very saddened with all the changes we have in Samoa today. Life in Samoa is not the same any more.”

“This is because our culture, especially our fa’aaloalo (respect) is fading away.”

“Life is changing so fast especially with a lot of changes from overseas influencing our Samoan way of life.”

He then pointed out “the main aspect of our culture that is slowly dying is respect.”

“We are very respectful people. That is one important aspect of our culture and our way of life (that every Samoan should keep closely in mind). But if we compare the behavior of our people nowadays with that in the past, you can’t help but shake your head.”

“It’s not the same anymore, especially with our youth. Most of them don’t respect the elders anymore. They don’t listen to their parents and the language used nowadays is just inappropriate.”

He said: “This problem is spreading like a disease and it will continue to spread if we don’t do anything about it.”

“Another change is that most of our children nowadays do not know how to do Samoan chores. They waste time on useless things.”

And the main cause of the problem has a lot to do with life at home, Salaifulu says.

“Everything starts at home,” he reminds. “Home is where everything begins.”

“Parents should devote more time with their children and keep reminding them about how they should live their lives.”

“They should focus on straightening the behavior of their children and teach them about our culture and our way of life.”

“And if they don’t do their job right, the children will continue on with this behavior and that means we will lose our culture forever.”

“Children are the future of our families, villages and country. Bring them up well and they will be great leaders, and if not, we will suffer.”

Said Salaifulu: “Family is the foundation of any child’s life. If we work together as a family and as a community to build strong foundations for our children, all is well.”

 “We need to uphold our culture and heritage and this can be done only if we all work together and help build strong foundations for the future of our country.”

Back on 15 July 2012, a story titled, “Warning a ‘joke’ – PM”, was published in the Sunday Samoan.

At the time, bingo gambling had been a popular pastime for quite sometime, and now that casino gambling had been given the green light by the government, churches objected.

The Chairman of National Council of Churches, Reverend Kasiano Le’aupepe, warned Tuilaepa that casino gambling would drive Samoa into “further poverty.”

He said: “The love of money is the root of all problems in Samoa and the world.”

“The love of money and the Casino combined will only drive our people further into poverty.”

“People will save money to play in the Casino instead of feeding their families. The addiction will result in more crime as people will start stealing to fuel their addiction.”

In response, Tuilaepa scoffed at Leaupepe, saying: “The strange thing about it is that all churches are playing bingo; now that’s gambling so it is no different from a casino.”

Tuilapea told the Sunday Samoan that perhaps Rev. Le’aupepe was “joking.”

He said it was “hilarious that people like him were against casino when church leaders were encouraging gambling through different forms of fundraising activities.”

“There is some kind of funny excitement in the way people think,” Tuilaepa said then. “So the way I look at the warning from the Chairman of the N.C.C, I think he was not really serious; he was probably joking.”

Tuilaepa said there was nothing to worry about though.

“No locals are allowed in those casinos,” he explained. “The casino is not for them. That is the law unless some idiot in the future decides to alter it.”

“We have the [Gambling] Authority, the Attorney General, the Police, and a member of the combined Holy people (churches) to ensure that locals abide by the law.”

Now wait a minute; he has the Attorney General, and the Police, who are his children. Now that’s reassuring indeed!

Still, Rev. Le’aupepe was not convinced.

He maintained that “gambling would open the door to the influx of outsiders, who have no fear of God.”

He said: “Our country is founded on God. We should hold on to that motto.”

Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless.

By Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa 27 November 2016, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device.

Ready to signup?