Faleolo Airport and the feud between Stui and Pohiva
I want to talk about the Faleolo International Airport first. In response to your editorial, I would argue that:
1. Airports do not attract tourists by themselves.
Nobody travels to a country to look at the airport. No, what airports do is they facilitate the increase in visitors. A larger airport that can handle more people means the ability to handle more airlines and flights into the country. That is the aim of this project.
To facilitate the increase in visitor numbers. The work to increase visitor numbers is done elsewhere - negotiations with airlines to increase flights; incentives for investors to come build more hotels and motels; deals with travel agencies and global chains etc
2. The debt being paid by current and future generations is appropriate.
These facilities will be used by those future generations. The hospital is another one. Future generations benefit from these things. Most of the old people at the opening won’t be around in another decade or so (with all due respect). However, the airport is technically not for them. It is for the next generation.
In 50 years time, the generation living then will be using and benefiting from this airport in the same way our current generation are benefiting from the Matautu wharf and the paved roads all the way around the islands that past generations worked to provide through their taxes (repaying loans and direct costs).
An old man once told me, that his dream for independence in 1962 was for a paved road all the way around Upolu and Savai’i.
Not for his benefit but for the benefit of his children and grandchildren. Back then it was dirt tracks where he was living far away from Apia.
The second issue is your front page story on P.M. Tuilaepa and his Tongan counterpart Akilisi Pohiva.
I would say that the Tongan P.M. is surprised because he reads the Samoa Observer too much.
Anyway, Tuilaepa was only joking yet the newspaper says he has “accused” the Tongan P.M. Come on.
The two P.M’s get on very well, judging by Akilisi Pohiva’s last official visit in 2015 and other visits since then.