Let’s welcome the New Year with hearts of thanksgiving and a sense of expectation
On the verge of a New Year, the word to think about today is thankful.
We are thankful that Samoa remains COVID19-free, we are thankful for the peaceful country we live in, we are thankful for the gift of life, we are thankful for our families, churches and villages. We are thankful that although things have been difficult, we have arrived at the end of another year safe and sound.
As a Christian country, we are thankful to the Almighty God for his guidance, protection, provision, mercies, eternal love and grace. There is so much more to be thankful for.
As we approach the last couple of days of 2020, to say that the past 12 months have been challenging would be an understatement. It’s been a turbulent year, one like none other.
Everyone will have a story to tell about their journey and experiences. As a collective, however, we have been through a lot. This time last year, our nation was mourning the tragedy of the measles epidemic. And just when the measles epidemic eased off, a pandemic in the form of COVID19 arrived. Who would have thought that we would see an epidemic and a pandemic in the same year?
COVID19 though for the past ten months has completely reshaped and redefined life as we know it in Samoa and all over the world. The pages of this newspaper, as well as our online platforms, have been filled with stories and photos of the impact this has had on our nation, especially the economic prospects and tourism industry.
But the pandemic is only a part of what has made this year an incredibly interesting year. On the local front, the debate about the pros and cons of the new Land and Titles Court laws dominated conversations across the nation. The details have been well told on the pages of this newspaper that we feel it is not necessary to try and highlight them again in this piece.
What’s interesting, and this is what we want to say, is that the L.T.C. laws have galvanized a movement that will only grow in this country. It is driven by people who have a genuine passion about what matters and why and this is the stuff that inspires hope. It reinvigorates.
Over the years, we have seen movements come and go in Samoa but the chorus of local and international voices against the L.T.C. bills will only get stronger for the simple reason that what they are fighting for is a lot bigger than anyone. It’s bigger than them, it’s bigger than the Government and it matters for the future.
Another interesting development has been the shift and movements within the political arena. With the General Election in 2021, the emergence of La’auli Leuatea Schmidt and F.A.S.T. with the support of Fiame Naomi Mata’afa has provided a dynamic to the next General Election we have not seen in this country before. Whether we like F.A.S.T. or not, we cannot deny that they, with the other political parties, are providing the most formidable challenge the all powerful H.R.P.P. Government has not seen in a long time.
Which makes next year’s General Election all the more interesting. 2020 of course would not be complete without Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi who has continued to be a key pillar of strength not just for the H.R.P.P. but also the Government. But at 75-years-old, how long can he continue to endure? We don’t want to pretend to know what it’s like to be a Prime Minister but we can only imagine how incredibly challenging it can be, especially after more than 20 years in office?
Today, although we don’t always agree and see eye-to-eye on many issues, we want to say we appreciate the good work that Tuilaepa and his Government have done for the people of our nation. As we round up the year, we acknowledge with heartfelt gratitude the role of Church leaders, Head of State, His Highness, Tuimaleali’ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II, Member of the Council of Deputies, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, former Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Prime Minister Tuilaepa, Cabinet Ministers, Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Tole'afoa Fa’afisi and Members of Parliament. We also thank the Chief Justice Satiu Simative Perese, President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepuleai Attila Ropati, Justices and Judges of the Courts, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Heads of Government Bodies and leaders of the Business Community.
It has been an incredibly turbulent year. All in all, we have memories to cherish, treasure and then some we want to forget but such is life.
On the pages of this newspaper today, we celebrate with great joy the work of individuals and groups who are highlighted in this special edition. We acknowledge that there are many more people who should be on this list but we simply cannot have them all today.
Suffice to say, the stories being highlighted today are a good mix of people from all walks of life, ages and personas. Their stories are those of hard work, dedication and commitment that should be acknowledged and appreciated. As we read through them today, we here at the Samoa Observer want to extend a big thank you and fa’amalo to each and everyone.
We can never forget the support of all our advertisers in Samoa and abroad, our business partners and you, our dearest readers. Thank you very much from us.
On the last day of this year, let us be grateful and be contented with all that we have. Let us look forward to 2021 with excitement and expectations, knowing that storms do not last forever. There might be pain in the night but with a new dawn on the horizon comes joy and the promise of a new day.
Have a great New Year Samoa, God bless!