Families using food to smuggle drugs, evil times and church leaders

We live in a pretty twisted society to be honest. It’s frightening.

On Thursday 2nd May 2019, we published a story titled “Families use food to smuggle marijuana into prison,” which turned out to be quite disturbing.

It said families of prisoners being held at Tafa’igata are using food to smuggle marijuana to their relatives there. Why some people would do that is just mind-boggling? Really. 

You’d think that at Tafaigata, a place where no one wants to be, people would be scared to break the law? Well apparently not.

In fact the reality is quite the opposite. According to the Deputy Commissioner of Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services (S.P.C.S.), Levaopolo Rosa Siaosi, the methods used by some families to do their dirty business have become quite sophisticated.

“People have various methods like hiding it (marijuana) inside food,” she explained. “Others use noodle boxes to put it inside and make it look like it hasn’t been opened. And sometimes soup is being used and we feel for the families, because they have spent a lot of time cooking food and yet its not being used, but it will all be found during our inspection in front of the gates.”

But that’s not all. In some cases, people weaved marijuana and other drugs into coconut leaf baskets so that when it was discovered, the baskets were banned.

Still some people had other ideas. They used items of clothing to smuggle drugs in. Two similar cases have been referred to the Police for investigation, we’ve been told.

This is only part of the problem. Given the presence of drugs, Levao went on to say that the problem is the Tafaigata Prison is no longer secure and safe for the workers. Which is precisely what happened last week when a Prison guard got injured during an attempt by seven detainees to break out.

Apparently, the officer had responded to a call for help from within the cell and when he opened the door, he got ambushed. Two detainees escaped, one has been caught while one is still on the run.

“It was all pre-planned by those inside and when the cell was opened, these seven detainees pushed through the door and the others inside had thrown rocks at the officer, in which he sustained injuries to his head and his hand," Levao explained.

Whatever way you look at what has been happening, it’s undoubtedly disturbing. Families – including mothers and children - smuggling drugs to prisoners? Detainees conspiring and then ambushing officials? What is going on? We say this because crime appears to have become a favourite past time for some people. Theft, rape, incest, robbery are just some of them.  What has happened to decent thinking and the God-fearing people of Samoa?

So what are you thinking? Please tell us.

Because all I’m thinking about is another story titled “OneCoin church pastors slammed for using pulpit” published on the Samoa Observer on Friday 3 May 2019. In it, former Member of Parliament, Afualo Dr. Wood Salele, said church leaders should stick to preaching about the word of God and not use the pulpit to encourage people to invest in such schemes.

“I don’t mind if they invest their money in the scheme but to use the pulpit to encourage other church followers to join is not right,” Afualo claimed.

“Its quite sad and I feel sad for the pastors that are involved in the scheme. They are promoting it because they want some fast cash but it is not right.”

Afualo went on to draw reference to the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) ministers who have been prosecuted for not paying their taxes.

“The truth is they should be prosecuted,” he said of the Church Ministers involved in the scheme. “It is not right that these church leaders involved in the scheme are being let go and you have the C.C.C.S. church ministers being prosecuted.

“It is two different issues but the moral of it – those involved in the scam have breached the law and should therefore be prosecuted as well – there needs to be justice for all, not just some.”

Well Afualo has got a point but then prosecution might be some time away.

While the Central Bank of Samoa has gone as far as identifying OneCoin as a “scam” it has passed the buck to the Police and the Office of the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute the people involved. Both offices have remained tightlipped on whether they would do that.

So let’s wait and see.

The point is that when we look at what’s happening in Samoa today, these social ills tell us there are major problems which need to be sorted out immediately. It involves the need for our leaders to get their priorities right.

The truth is that when bad things happen, we often blame the Government, which is justifiable because Prime Minister Tuilaepa and his administration have a massive responsibility to sort out these problems.

But the rising number of petty crimes, social ills and just pure evil also point to a country that is sick spiritually. This is where Church leaders come in. They are duty-bound to do everything they can to help the Government stop crime.

The question is, what are they doing about it?

Now it’s Sunday today and here is an idea; instead of talking about money from the pulpit, how about changing the subject of the sermon to directly address the real needs of our people.

Why are families becoming involved drug smuggling operations? Why are more and more people ending up in prison? The answer to these questions would be a great start.

Tell us what you think.

In the meantime, have a restful Sunday Samoa, God bless.

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