How Samoa can move forward

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 27 April 2017, 12:00AM

This much is undeniable. There is danger from within the halls of power in Samoa today. It has something to do with unresolved cases of corruption, collusion, abuse and misuse of power hurting the most vulnerable people of this country. 

Such have enslaved some of our own people in their own country. Yes their very own country.

Look at the state of farmers, mothers and their poor children and what they have to go through every day just to make a tala. 

Look at the growing number of desperate people on the streets begging everyday. We talk about Samoa not having an issue with poverty. Okay then.

Last week, I saw something I’ve never seen in this country before. In a village on the outskirts of Apia, there was a woman walking around naked. She looked like she was mentally ill. Many people would have seen her.

Yesterday, there was a heavy downpour in the middle of the afternoon and then right after, the scorching sun returned with a vengeance. It was heart-breaking to watch beggars, street vendors and the mothers selling goods on the streets scramble to find shelter.

But these are signs of the times.

We ask you to again look at the growing number of Samoans – of all ages - who are being enslaved to run all over town to sell pins, cans of soda, twisties and air fresheners.

Elsewhere, think about the cost of electricity, water and basic services. Think about how expensive they are compared to the minimum wage of $2.30 per hour.

Think about how taxes are hurting everybody, especially when they are being taxed to the bone every day. And what about the idea that these taxes are being reviewed with the real possibility of raising them? 

Isn’t it downright cruel then that when we are taxed everywhere we turn in this country today, and yet we find that the cost of living, the cost of basic services and the cost of basic utilities continuing to show no mercy to the downright depleted soul?

The thing is: what percentage of those increases is the result of negligence, corruption and mismanagement by the public service?

What we find particularly shameful is the attitude of apathy that’s being shown towards these eventualities by public officials. Some of them don’t care at all. They have this entitlement mentality towards public properties and coffers. What a shame!

Today, there is reason to be alarmed. We say this because as ordinary members of the public struggle to get by on a daily basis – including businesses and the thousands of employees depending on them – the government just doesn’t seem to accept that somewhere along the line, its behaviour, or misbehaviour if you prefer, has played a big part in this struggle.

We’re talking about the abuse, overspending and the misuse of millions of tala – that otherwise could have been spent to help people.

Remember the Controller and Chief Auditor‘s report to Parliament for 2009 and 2010? 

Remember the Officers of Parliament Committee’s report?

Now think about this again, why do we jail the average Samoan who steals 50 tala and yet allow the ones who misuse millions to walk freely?

Let’s not kid ourselves. In Samoa today, there is an elephant in the room and as long as that is not addressed, we can never move forward as a country. That is why we will continue to struggle contrary to our leaders saying the wonderful things and the usual rhetoric we are tired of hearing.

What do you think?

Have a great Thursday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 27 April 2017, 12:00AM

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