The bizarre and the ugly

Reading the Wednesday edition of your Samoa Observer newspaper sent chills down the spine. The headlines and stories on the first three pages alone were enough to send a shock wave throughout Samoa with the suggestion that a terrible illness has invaded this society.

The worry is that it appears that all levels have been infected by this illness so that today, we are on the verge of the pillars of Samoan society collapsing causing irreparable damage.

Let’s begin from the front page for example. Under the headline “Police investigate alleged falsification of govt. files,” we are told that a certain company involving high-profile officials – including government officials - had been engaged in alleged illegal practices.

The investigation follows an official criminal complaint filed by an Associate Minister alleging that forgery and falsification was involved in the company’s business license.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are very serious allegations. The idea that senior government officials who are supposed to lead by example are implicated is both chilling and worrying. How can we expect members of the public to be law-abiding citizens if their leaders do the opposite?

On page 2 of the same paper, there was a story about a young man, Tele’a Kepaoa, convicted for attempting to murder his stepfather. He has been jailed for six years.

The incident occurred on 28 February 2016 when the step-father and the accused’s mother had an argument. 

“The accused heard the argument, walked over and heard the step-father saying things about him and his sister,” the Court was told. 

“The accused was not happy as this is not the first time the step-father has had a fight or argument with his mother. The accused got hold of a machete, went to the main road to wait for his step-father and assaulted him with the machete.” 

Justice Tuatagaloa noted the victim sustained multiple lacerations to his left forearm, deep open fracture to his left elbow, amputated right thumb and multiple lacerations to the left thigh. 

Now this sort of attack is not new. And that’s the real concern here. Our people are obviously no longer afraid to kill others – including their very own relatives. In this case, this young man could have easily killed his stepfather. What is going on in Samoa today? Why have certain people become so ruthless and have turned into such savages?

Speaking of being ruthless and savages, one shameful trend that has emerged is that of brothers and sisters being hauled before Court for incest. One more case of this nature emerged in the Supreme Court this week. It is that of a brother and sister accused of having sex.

The Acting Assistant Commissioner, Sala’a Moananu Sala’a said the incident occurred during Mother’s Day. The sister is married with children and her brother is ten years younger than her. It was her husband who reported the matter to the police.

Folks just this week, this is the second case of this nature to have surfaced before the Court. What is going on? What has happened to the sacred relationship and respect between a brother and sister that Samoa is so well known for? 

Indeed these incidents send chills down the spine with the idea that Samoa has become such a sick society. These cases are not normal.

We agree that these sorts of incidents are not new and they are not confined to Samoa. What’s alarming here is that there’s been a “prevalence” of heinous criminal offenses being committed in this country, as the Courts have often pointed out. The stories highlighted in this piece were on the first three pages of one of seven editions of this newspaper in a week. 

We should be alarmed.

The worry is if more and more people are continued to be charged and thrown to prison, we may soon find Tafaigata Prison incapable of keeping convicted offenders in custody. 

What we find most distressing is that many people are making the sincere effort to ensure that good things are done to give everyone in this country the chance to live a better life. And in so doing, they help raise Samoa’s image high. 

But then bizarre incidents such as the alleged corruption involving high profile officials, violent outbursts among families and the disgraceful behaviour within our homes will inevitably tarnish that image. They also destroy the positive contributions others have worked hard to achieve.

These are the challenges of our time. We need leaders to address these issues. Now is a good time to start.

What do you think?

Have a great weekend Samoa, God bless!

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