Vendor refuses to move goods

A local vendor who peddles goods along the popular Convent Street in town has challenged the Police to be fair in their crackdown on street vending.

The Police recently warned Malavai Ainu'u, who has been in the vendor business for over 50 years, reminding him of the state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders and asking him to clear his goods and leave.

But the vendor refused to remove his goods when ordered by the Police, saying they should also act against a Chinese-owned business that sells products in front of their store and on the footpath.

"They (Police) came and cleared out my stuff and yet they can't do anything to the Chinese businesses that are selling their products in front of their store and on the footpath,” he said in an interview with Samoa Observer. 

“Their response to me is that the Chinese owns the houses, but the Chinese did not come to Samoa with houses, so if they're allowing them to sell then the Chinese should sell their products inside and not on the footpath.”

Under the S.O.E. orders released by the Government last Friday, “street vendors” are banned from selling for the 14-day duration of the orders.

“There shall be no selling of any goods beside roads, streets, culverts or footpaths. Children selling goods in public is strictly prohibited,” states the SOE orders.

But Mr. Ainu'u appeared unfazed by the Police action, claiming that the Police targeted him and his business and not bigger businessmen like the owners of supermarkets Farmer Joe’s and Coin Save.

The Police then presented him a letter, but he said he refused to sign it when he was approached.

"This is how I make a living, and they are trying to take it from me, they came to me with a letter signed by them but I refused to sign it. So they have taken back the paper with them.”

Alleging that the Police had double standards, he said he ran his business during the measles epidemic and was not stopped.

One of his siblings, Pepe Tupufia Ainuu from Faleapuna, said she shared her brother’s sentiments.

"I don't understand why they stop us vendors from selling our products at the footpath when they are allowing the Chinese people to sell their products in front of their store," she said.

Mrs. Ainuu, who sells ie lavalava in front of the Eveni Carruthers store downtown, said she is not happy with their business being stopped by the Police.

Contacted for comment, a Farmer Joe’s supervisor said the vendors paid for the spot in front of their shop and there were no notices stopping them from selling. 

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