Brawling vendors worry

A new video showing young street vendors fighting on the streets of Apia has emerged.

It has added fuel to concerns about the safety of members of the public on the streets of Apia.

The footage shared by a concerned public member shows four young vendors fighting on the road between the S.N.P.F. and Bartley building in Savalalo. 

The fight happened around 2.30pm last week Saturday where young vendors from the age of 6 years old up to 12 years old started wrestling infront of the Farmers. 

As the young children were fighting several bystanders watched on, doing nothing. 

A taxi vehicle drove past the young children who continued to fight for 15minutes.  

In the end, the children started to throw stones when a man then grabbed one of the young vendors. 

Businessman Rudy Bartley who operates the W.T. Media said the incidents involving young vendors need to be addressed earlier rather than later. 

It is also a concern for businesses especially when nothing is being done. 

“If people in power don’t do anything it’s up to us normal people to do something through social media,” he told the Samoa Observer. 

“We see these kids hanging around here everyday and it doesn’t get any better. It needs to stop before it gets worse. 

“The best time to do it is while the children are still young and in need of legislation to protect them. Right now they meet up around this area and imagine when they are all grown up in their 20s meeting up where the Waterfront project is. 

By then it would be too late to stop them.”

According to the businessman the young vendors problem is going through the stage where it will get worse rather than better. 

“If the politicians are not going to do something about it – it is up to the media to expose these videos and make changes,” he said. 

“There is also something called social justice that if the Court and government cannot do anything about it and the normal ways of getting things done doesn’t work this is the alternative. 

“Its unfortunate that the problem is in our face and we see it and know its bad and we become immune and complacent about it.”

He also acknowledged Member of Parliament for Urban West, Faumuina Wayne Fong who has also voiced his concerns and support to address the issue. 

Mr. Bartley who posted the first footage of three young vendors beating up a homeless man said he made the decision to share the CCTV video to raise awareness. 

“I had it for three weeks and asked myself whether to share it or not,” he said. 

“Then I thought it will get worse than this if it’s not exposed. We are all for protecting the rights of a child but when you start seeing a thing like this that no normal kid does then you draw the line and say that something has to be done.”  

Mr. Bartley believes that poverty is not the problem but bad and lazy parents. 

He explained that people in the villages who feel unfortunate do not behave the same way as the young vendors. 

“This doesn’t happen in the villages,” he said. 

“I see these kids and the number keeps growing and you now see young girls hanging around too wearing mini-skirts and those kind of clothes. They say its poverty but even if its poverty it is not right (for children to beat up people).

Some of these families might have been banished from villages or left because they do not want to contribute to church and village commitments and don’t want to be powered by matai. The kids are oblivious with what is happening around them and I don’t see any changes.”

Another small business woman, Faafouina Eteuati who sells lavalava infront of S.N.P.F. Plaza was equally concerned  about the young vendors. 

 While she does the hard work to support her children, Mrs. Eteuati blames irresponsible parents for pushing their children to walk the streets even late at night. 

“I work to support my family and its no excuse to send your children out late at night endangering them so you can get some quick money,” she said. 

“There used to be a few young vendors but its looking like a disease now and they are becoming a real problem to our customers…they harass them and can hurt our tourist and our small businesses who are simply just here to make some money.”

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