Time for proper apology

Dear Editor,

Thank you Mata’afa K. Lesa for standing up for Jack Batchelor and the Lupesina Treesort in your editorial titled “Let’s not desert the Treesort”.

I feel for this man Mr. Batchelor who has done so much good for Samoa. As he said, he broke his silence because everyone threw darts at him. 

Despite that, he continued to speak positively about Samoa and the people. What broke my heart is that he risked so much for us. This is exactly the type of foreign investor we need in Samoa, one who does not rely on government or the people for shonky deals to get his business up and going.

Here’s Mr Jack Batchelor’s story. He came with his wife to Samoa and started up a hotel which was destroyed by the tsunami. They then moved to Tiavi and started up the Treehouse resort. His only son came from the U.S.A. to help them out. Tragically, he ended up committing suicide. He broke up with his wife and she returned to America. The man never gave up but stayed behind to run his tree house and resort which attracted a lot of tourists to Samoa.

So what’s new about this country and the people who criticized this poor man and the 60 Minutes who aired the story of a serial prison escapee who raped a tourist and tied her husband up? 

Yet it was what came out of P.M. Tuilaepa’s mouth that led to tourists boycotting Samoa as a tourist destination. What P.M. Tuilaepa said reminded me of what Jesus said, “it’s not what goes in to you that destroys you but it’s what comes out of you that does.” In this case what came out of Tuilaepa’s mouth destroyed tourism and the nation.

According to Mr. Batchelor, he now has more cancellations than reservations and lost $73,000 in the process. So where are those fools who defended P.M. Tuilaepa’s interview and said what happened to those tourists will not have an impact on tourism? 

And where is the government’s Press Secretariat that criticized 60 Minutes and pointed the finger to everyone else but not at the P.M. who answered the interview? 

Most of these fools that defended the P.M., they only defended him because most of them benefit from government corruption and have been for many years. 

None of their responses to the 60 Minutes interview made sense at all but were all defensive and aggressive to those who criticized P.M. Tuilaepa’s answers given in the interview. It’s alright for them to shoot their mouths off because they don’t own any businesses, have lost nothing and the incident has no impact on them.

This man’s tree house was rated No. 1 on Trip Advisor. After P.M. Tuilaepa’s interview, its rating dropped down to No 7. There’s a chance that rating might drop further.

It received 99% positive reviews on Lonely Planet compared to other bigger brands, which received only 60%. According to these statistics, a lot of resorts/hotels especially in the rural areas and Savaii were ranked higher than some of the more prominent properties which the government has invested monies in. This explains why P.M. Tuilaepa said what he said on 60 Minutes, that the tourists should not go out to the rural areas (including Savaii) but stay in town where it’s safer. That statement was an attempt to keep the tourists in town and divert them to these bigger properties.

Jack Batchelor should sue the government for defamation to not only recover the $73,000 loss but for millions more as that is the extent of the damage P.M. Tuileapa’s statement had caused.

The hotels in rural areas and Savai’i need to add up their losses incurred since this interview was aired, get behind Mr. Batchelor and band together for a class suit against P.M. Tuilaepa and his govt. over his statement that suggested that tourists must stay in town where it’s safer and not go out where there’s danger.

But where is the Samoa Hotels Association (S.H.A.) in all of this? Where is the Minister of Police and Tourism? Where is the S.T.A. C.E.O.? What have they got to say about this and what are they going to do about those potential tourists who're boycotting Samoa? Who will speak out for the hotels in the rural areas? Has P.M. Tuilaepa shut them up too? Or are they thinking up some lies to fool the people?

As for P.M. Tuilaepa, you’ve been using our culture to cover up your pathetic record and hide behind it for a long time. This is the right time for you to use our culture and traditions where it is now necessary for damage control. 

Bring the victims Angie and Tommy back to Samoa and offer a proper apology by carrying out an ifoga and televise it around the world to let the world know who the Samoan people really are. We are about respect, love, compassion etc and we are a unique society.

The image of Samoa has been destroyed by P.M. Tuilaepa and H.R.P.P for many years. Because of corruption, the world sees Samoa for who we are not.

I’ve said many times before to remove all corrupt leaders and corrupt business associates from Samoa and replace them with leaders that will take Samoa back to her roots and foundation which is founded in God – Fa’avae i le Atua Samoa.



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