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Frequent traveller decries state of bathrooms

The condition of the bathroom facilities at both the Mulifanua and Salelologa wharves have been put under the spotlight by a frequent traveller.

Seventy-two-year-old, Tagaloaalagi Richard Martin, who has travelled between Upolu and Savai’i on small and large vessels since 1980, told Samoa Observer that the state of bathroom facilities at both wharves shocked him.

“You know when people are cleaning that it makes a huge difference, and a difference to the hygiene as well," he said. 

"Ever since I've been going between Mulifanua and Salelologa Savai’i, the toilets have just gotten worse and worse; nothing has changed,” he said. "And I see the tourists when they're queuing up at the boats, seeing them cringe and you hear the comments, they are just so bad."

The issue compelled him to send an email to the Samoa Shipping Corporation (S.S.C.) General Manager, Papali'i Willie Nansen, on Sunday, March 8, 2020 expressing concern.

“Since about 1980 I have travelled many times to Savaii from Upolu in both small vessels and bigger vessels. Now I am not absolutely sure who is responsible for the toilets at both Mulifanua and Salelologa but I assume S.S.C. is in charge for cleaning the facilities,” he stated in his email. “It is extremely disappointing to see the poor state of cleanliness at both locations - the toilets are disgraceful and disgusting.”

“Considering Samoa has been hammered with various illnesses over the years, including the recent measles sickness and the upcoming coronavirus illness, it is surely in Samoa's interest to have the toilets cleaned up to assist in minimising ongoing sickness.

Papalii, when responding to Tagaloaalagi’s email on Monday, thanked him for raising the issue and gave the assurance that the S.S.C. will take responsibility and improve the state of the toilets.

“We value your input and we’ll take full responsibility to take action to ensure we improve the standards of these toilets, especially its cleanliness in our efforts and preparedness for the upcoming coronavirus epidemic.”

When the Samoa Observer contacted Papali'i for comment, he said they take full responsibility for the state of the bathroom facilities, and it is normal for a service provider to be blamed.

However, he said users of the facilities also have an equal responsibility to ensure there is no abuse and they should play their part.

“But bear in mind, it works both ways, we hired people to look after these facilities and we spend a lot of money supplying all the required cleaning chemicals, to ensure these facilities are well supplied and kept under safe and hygienic conditions for public use. Unfortunately, users of these facilities are so abusive and irresponsible in playing their part. But, we will not shift the blame nor make excuses,” the Corporation’s G.M. stated in an email response to the Samoa Observer. 

“We will improve the standards of these toilets where necessary and our cleaning campaign now in progress in preparedness for the coronavirus will further address and resolve this issue. Our humble request to the travelling public is for your support and cooperation to utilize these facilities responsibly.”

When the Samoa Observer visited the bathroom facility at the Mulifanua wharf on Wednesday, it found it to be in a good state.

Tagaloaalag, who has been visiting Samoa since 1973, said in his email to Papalii that he hoped the two bathroom facilities were cleaned by close of business Thursday, March 12. 

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