Village curfews vs. public roads
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has reminded that it is illegal for villages guarding evening curfews to interfere with members of the public using public roads. Our reporter, Nefertiti Matatia, asked the public: Do you think villages should focus on vehicles on the road or should they concentrate more on what is happening in their village during the curfew? This is what they said:
Eseta Levi, 37, Vaitele
The Prime Minister is right. When they have curfews I think that there should be nobody on the road. All fathers are the leaders of families; they are supposed to be at home. The reason I say this is because they are the ones who should be doing the evening prayers instead of being in front of the road securing the road when it is curfew time. There is no law that states they should be on the road stopping people from driving on public roads.
They should be gathering their family members preparing for their evening prayers. This land that we live on belongs to God, we are not the owners. During that time, it is when all fathers should be in their houses to give all the glory and thanks to God. At the end of the day, if we die, we leave this earth and the land will remain. The land is given to us by God and we cannot take it with us when we die. There is nothing wrong with evening curfews, but all men should be part of the evening service.
Tomasi Labalaba, 62, Siusega
It is a public road so that means it is the Government’s road. I think he (Prime Minister) made his comment but for me as far as I am concerned, he is correct. He is right. It is a government road and nobody should interfere because that is for the public to use.
I saw it on the Samoa Observer when he commented on that issue. He was saying to not interfere because it is a public road and the people have the right. I see that every evening during the curfew, people are standing in front of the road.
Faumui Faamatala, 62, Papa Puleia
It is not right if people are getting stopped on public roads. It is a must for those villages that have their curfew to actually go around to different families and make sure they are praying, instead of them walking around the public road and stopping the cars that are driving pass. I don’t agree with that. We are never aware of certain events where people are being rushed to the hospital and they need to pass by quick and yet they are being stopped.
In my own opinion, their main concern is to monitor families in their village and see if they are doing their evening prayers and for families that are not doing their prayers should be punished. That is when they apply their village rules, instead of interfering with the public road because they don’t have the right.
Vaisaulu Satele Mah Sun, 67, Vaitele-Uta
I understand that the Prime Minister said something about this issue. The people have the right to their own lands and they could have their rules applied to it. But I don’t think that they should interfere with the public road, just let the people pass.
They would have every right if people walk on their when they have evening curfew. They should look after their own people and don’t get involved with the people on the public road. Having curfew has always been a part of our culture and I respect that. Despite everything, they should never be involved with the public road. The strong men of the village have no business in stopping people. The road belongs to the Government and we should listen to those in charge.
Liko Pelenato, 27, Leauvaa
I believe that any village should have an evening curfew. We may never know what lies before us. There are certain times when the village has its evening curfew and there are some drunkards driving during the time when families are doing their prayers.
For me, that is when people who are securing the road would be responsible for this kind of matter. I think when it gets out of hand, then that is when the police would take over. The public road is for transportation of everyone and they should not be stopped because the village does not own the public road. Cars should not be stopped during evening curfews unless they are turning into the village then that is when they will need to stop and abide to the rules and regulations of the village.