Olo slams S.O.E. orders, stands up for small shops

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 09 August 2020, 8:00PM

Member of Parliament for Salega East, Olo Fiti Vaai, has urged the Government to focus on enforcing quarantine measures and keeping the border closure to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country. 

Olo has criticised Government of imposing state of emergency orders (S.O.E.) that he claims have no logic when the private sector and small businesses are struggling to operate. 

The latest amended S.O.E. order now limits the opening hours for small shops to operate from 3pm on Sundays like supermarkets but can close late.  Supermarkets are still required to close at 7pm on Sundays. 

But Olo claims there is a hidden agenda behind the orders that is making it difficult for people to go about with its daily routine despite Samoa being free from covid-19. 

“The main area that Government should focus on is closing the borders and ensuring that its quarantine screening is secure,” said the M.P. 

“But how can they impose these orders restricting the public from moving about to do their business when those in quarantine are drunk when it shouldn’t happen. 

“We have a high unemployed rate with many in the tourism industry being made redundant so how are they going to survive with these orders that make no sense.”  

Olo accused Government of playing politics with the S.O.E. orders saying it is done to dry up people’s pocket and have money distributed to them before the general election. 

“We look at Fiji who has cases and their tourism industry is opened,” he said. 

“Why are we locking up our people when we should be open up the domestic market so our people can help each other and keep the borders closed.

“Its common sense and the reason why people are jamming at supermarkets and small shops is because of the limited hours the shops are opened forcing people to gather in numbers.” 

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi said the new orders effective this Sunday limiting the hours for small shops is to avoid crowds. 

During his interview with TV3, Tuilaepa said this defeats the whole purpose of imposing orders on Sundays so that people can go to church and do all their shopping on Sunday. 

But Olo disagrees with the Prime Minister. 

He said if the Government’s aim is so that people can all go to church on Sundays then they should also impose similar orders on Saturday for those that worship on Saturdays. 

Furthermore, Olo said there is no logic in the orders pointing to restrictions that limits the number of attendance to funerals to 50 couples during the funeral service in a church. 

To support his point, the M.P. said what doesn’t make sense is that people in night clubs who dance close to each other is being allowed. 

He said this contradicts the order of 50 couples in the funeral service where normally people keep their distance without rubbing each other’s shoulders. 

“That order doesn’t go in line with the C.D.C. [Cabinet Development Committee] site visit where more than 100 people gathered,” he said. 

“So I really don’t understand the logic behind these orders and forcing small shops to close because people are gathering in crowds to buy, but you think about it its probably about ten or so people going to the shop at that time and we have 100 people at the C.D.C. site visit.” 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa had recently defended S.O.E. orders saying that people have more than enough time to do their shopping from Monday to Saturday for what they need. 

He said should people want to buy something they might have forgotten on Sunday they can wait until the shops open at 3pm. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 09 August 2020, 8:00PM

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