Police warn public not to breach orders
Members of the public, who defy state of emergency orders by taking children to public gatherings, could find themselves being charged or even arrested.
But the Deputy Police Commissioner, Papali’i Monalisa Tiai – Keti, told the Samoa Observer that would be the last resort in a bid to enforce the orders.
Papali’i was responding to questions from the Samoa Observer concerning their role in enforcing the orders.
Concerns have been raised about members of the public continuing to defy the orders by taking their children under 19 years old to public gatherings, including church services.
The Deputy Commissioner confirmed that church gatherings are included in the definition of "public gatherings" and is urging members of the clergy, villages and parents to support and obey the orders to protect children who are most vulnerable.
“Yes, again we advise parents and guardians that children are at a higher risk to be affected by the measles outbreak,” Papali’I told the Samoa Observer in an email.
“We can determine by the statistics on the death rate.
“As such children’s lives are in your hands. S.P.S. [Samoa Police Service] reiterate that by working together as parents, villages, church and as a whole community we can achieve a safe Samoa.”
Papali’i pointed out at this stage, law enforcers are required to explain and issue warnings to those who do not adhere to the State of Emergency Orders.
She added it is however more effective if members of the public could work together with the authority in helping to contain the measles crisis.
“Samoa Police is endeavoring to continue to provide advice and warnings without having to resort to other enforcement measures,” she said.
“This is a much more effective and practical approach during this health crisis.”
However, Papali’i said, “people who disobey S.O.E. orders can be arrested and charged”.
She stressed that “our country is going through a crisis that requires collaboration and everyone to work together.
“However, if anyone continues to defy these orders the Samoa Police will have to resort to other enforcement measures including arrest to ensure the overall safety of the public.”
Lastly, the Deputy Commission offered the police force condolences to the families of those who have been affected by the measles crisis.