Snap election surprises small businesses

A number of small business stall owners at the Malaefatu Park at Sogi have expressed concern at the Head of State’s announcement of another nationwide general election in a fortnight.

His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II announced the revocation of the April 9, 2021 General Election result on Tuesday evening and ordered a fresh general election on May 21 – despite a Supreme Court application by the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party that questioned his powers being on foot – to further plunge the country deeper into a constitutional crisis.

However the entrepreneurs, who didn’t want to be identified when interviewed by the Samoa Observer, said they found the actions of the Head of State “unacceptable” as participating in another election is always a costly exercise.

“This is something that we didn’t expect to happen at this time and if it’s to happen it will be the first time for Samoa to hold a second election,” said one of the stall owners on the condition of anonymity.

Another entrepreneur said: "Another election would be very hard for our people in terms of money, transportation and others but looks like the decision has already been made and for me personally I do not accept it at all.”

He continued: “The country had prepared for the election that has already taken place on the 9th last month, and it’s a bit shocking for us all that we have to prepare for another election ahead, in my own opinion the results that came first we should consider it all and move on already.”

Another shop owner from Vaoala said the Head of State’s order for Samoa to have another general election is “rare” and “shocking” for small businesses like his.

He said while he begrudgingly agrees with the conducting of another general election, the announcement of it being held in a fortnight is too short. 

"In terms of income we are just a developing business and by giving this notice it's a bit shocking especially in just a short period of time,” he said. 

"We are different from other businesses but as for us we provide for our own living and if this gives our people on two-weeks holiday then it will be so much loss for us, we paid for our employees, the materials and everything.

“This is history for sure, that's why I strongly agree to not have another election, the results we already have that's from God appointing and the way I see it is very unfair and it will need a lot of work.”

Another stall owner also expressed concern about the cost on businesses financially and the lost hours as well as another election’s impact on families.

"We have been tirelessly waiting for the official results to come out, then legal petitions from each candidate was next and then this election comes after, it was something that we did not expect, especially in terms of high cost of living in Samoa.

“Children and their schools fees, family faalavelave, church and village donations; some people may take it as a joke but as a Samoan citizen, we do not because we are just a developed country that needs money for our needs and wants in our everyday life.”

The small business stall owners set up shop at the Malaefatu Park at Sogi as part of the lead-up to the celebration of Mother's Day this weekend. 

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