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We all deserve to live a life free of crime and violence.

It is tragic staff of a business were attacked on the eve of White Sunday and one of them died from his injuries. As families retired for the night in anticipation of White Sunday celebrations the next day, others with malicious intent, invaded the premises of a business with an intent to rob and bring harm to anyone who stood in their way. Pacific Trade & Industry Co. Limited staff member, Lin Jia, told the Samoa Observer in an interview of how he and his colleagues were attacked at their Vaitele company premises around 10pm on Saturday night.Having lived in Samoa for 25 years, he said he was shocked at the boldness that the attackers displayed to enter their premises with a mission to bring harm."I am shocked at how the people that did this to us were not scared of the law, that they could jump over a fence and just come and kill a person and also cause harm upon us.”The Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil, confirmed the attack when he was contacted by this newspaper."One person is murdered; one is in critical condition," the Commissioner said. "Robbery is definitely the motive". Mr. Jia said the attack was perpetrated by five masked assailants with three carrying weapons and the other two keeping watch. It is shocking and worrying that the number of attacks targeting foreigners is on the rise in Samoa, especially those of Asian origin. In August last year a Chinese volunteer was robbed and killed at the seawall, and in February this year a shop at Vailoa run by a Chinese couple was the target of an attack and the theft of $60,000 cash. Therefore, the attack and fatality at Vaitele on Saturday night is the third incident of its kind in 14 months and warrants closer scrutiny. Was this a deliberate attack targeting business owners of Asian origin? Or is this a random opportunistic attack that endangers the lives of everyone? There is no doubt that the attacks and killings on Saturday night, will compel citizens and residents of Samoa to ask a lot of questions of the effectiveness of the Police and the work they do. But we must also remind ourselves that we are also obliged under the laws of the land to respect and uphold them. Our obligations include the need to report those in breach of the law, and to hand over or report to Police people we suspect of being involved in a crime. At the end of the day, the members of that five-member gang that attacked the Chinese-run business on Saturday night, will belong to a village and a family. Their criminal activities would be known to other members of their family, their friends or even neighbours. Last Saturday night they targeted the owners of Pacific Trade & Industry Co. Limited in a vicious attack, and when things get desperate and they need instant cash to feed their extravagant wicked lifestyles they could turn on you or me.Surely the testimony of Mr. Jia, on the impact of this crime on him as a 25 year resident, will and should reverberate within the corridors of Government in Apia. Some key questions that should be asked are: Is this the new normal for a nation that prides itself as a Christian nation? And what are the issues that are giving rise to violent crimes such as these? Coming from Papua New Guinea (PNG) where such crimes have become the norm in major towns and cities, Samoans should not take these attacks for granted, because it could lead to the degeneration of society in Samoa and see anyone fall victim to these thugs. Therefore, the Police need the help of the community and the village councils to weed out these scumbags – who disappeared into the darkness on Saturday night – and are cowardly taking comfort behind the wall of anonymity and deliberate ignorance their family members or friends are offering. Everyone in this beautiful country deserves a life free of crime and the ability to go about one’s business without looking over his or her shoulder. Everyone has a right to go to sleep at night knowing that the man or woman next door or passerby has respect for your rights and freedom. Now that’s a Samoa we all want.Have a lovely Tuesday Samoa and God bless. 

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Brand new $18.2 million prison, one sleeping guard

Let’s see. After all the hype about how a brand new $18.2 million prison of “international standards” would align Samoa’s prisons with “some of the best and most secured prisons in the world,” here we are today with that all too familiar feeling of deja vu.That’s right, contrary to all the promises, feel good speeches and the assurances from the Government on the safety of members of the public from escaped convicts, it has taken two of the most notorious prisoners in Samoa just over two months to work out how to break out of a brand new multi-million-tala jail.In case you are not aware, we are talking about something that is on everyone’s mind today; the fact that extremely dangerous criminals Lauititi Tualima and Aniseko Vaelei have escaped from prison once more.As we speak, they could be anywhere. It’s gets worse of course. The latest prison break means there are three extremely dangerous convicts at large in Samoa, since they still have not captured Pati Chong Nee who has been on the run since the beginning the year.Why should you and I be concerned? It’s simple really.Firstly, Tualima has proven to be one of the most dangerous criminals in Samoa, with a string of criminal offences to his name including the abhorrent international embarrassment he perpetrated by raping a tourist at the Treesort in 2015. How can we forget that 60 Minutes episode?Vaelei on the other hand accompanied Chong Nee when they broke away from Tafa’igata. They went on to commit a series of thefts and robberies. In one of those cases, they netted $60,000.  And now that we have these three men at large again, how are members of the public supposed to feel?Imagine the victims of these men’s previous offending. They would be shaking in fear knowing that they could be victimised all over again, no thanks to this Government’s inability to perform a very simple task of keeping prisoners behind bars.So what happened? And who is responsible for this latest major embarrassment?Well the Minister of Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, has not attempted to hide the truth, which is good. That is, even an $18 million piece of infrastructure cannot do the job on its own if officials are lazy and unreliable.In other words, you can have the best looking prison costing up to a hundred million tala but if guards are slack and the systems are found wanting, all that investment becomes an utter waste.Which is precisely what happened on Sunday morning when Lauititi and Vaelei, who were kept in the same cell, hatched their grand plan to escape.The first question is, how could they keep Lauititi and Vaelei in the same cell, knowing what they are capable of? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or an expert in prison security to know that these men should have been kept in separate cells.Another disturbing fact is that the prison was severely understaffed and the one guard responsible for the cell was sleeping. Again, this just boggles the mind.How can one guard be responsible for an entire prison population? This has got to be the height of being irresponsible.Listen to the Minister once again. He said: "One was on duty that night, but up there is really secure, even without a guard it is still secure. It’s all because the guard on duty opened the cell gate, that’s all."What is the Minister saying? Is he suggesting that even without a guard the prison is secured? Really? Well look at what has transpired Mr. Minister.This is why the Prison needs enough prison guards. They serve a purpose.Here’s another extremely disturbing fact.  As of today, the four-metre high perimeter fence on the outside of the prison remains unfinished. What that means is there is absolutely no guarantee that there will not be another prison break soon.And what does the Minister have to say about this?"It depends on the contract,” he said. “[The] only thing left is the back area with some cement poles that have recently been erected. The contract ends in October. But inside the perimeter of the prisons is already secured, and in the cell blocks it’s all still secured, unless someone opens it.”Let’s settle something right here and now. The Minister cannot say that the prison is secured. It is not. Why? Isn’t it obvious? If the prison was secured, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today, would we?The fact is, and this is perhaps the most disappointing part, is that you’d think with all the millions of taxpayers monies spent on the facility, the Government would have done its donkey work first and ensured there was enough manpower to run it. An $18.2 million prison facility with a chronic shortage of prison guards is a recipe for disaster. It’s like having a brand new Moto’otua hospital without doctors.The point is that you’d think with all those laui’a in there and the millions they’ve spent on this project that they would have come up with a solution to such a fundamental problem at the prison? Or do we need to throw in another $10 million tala to find a solution?Here’s a free suggestion: perhaps its time for the Government to open a facility to train prison guards and correctional officers. That’s what we think anyway. What do you think? Share your thoughts with us!Have a wonderful Wednesday Samoa, God bless! 

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Two bills and their wider implications if passed into law

Parliament has been busy this week analysing proposed legislation, discussing their merits and looking at what their impact could be on constituents in the long-term period.Two bills have been particularly contentious amongst lawmakers: the Teachers Amendment Bill 2019 and the Tax Administration Amendment Bill 2019. Explanatory notes for the two proposed legislation – courtesy of electronic copies of the proposed legislation uploaded to the Parliament of Samoa website – states the following:The Teachers Amendment Bill 2019 “seeks to amend the Teachers Act 2016 (“Principal Act”) to provide that all prescribed fees are to be paid to the Treasury Fund and therefore allowances of the Council will be paid explicitly”.The Tax Administration Amendment Bill 2019 “seeks to amend the Tax Administration Act 2012 and to make a consequential amendment to the Customs Act 2014 to allow the Minister to have access to tax and customs information for the purposes of the Act”.On Tuesday Members of Parliament expressed concern that the prescribed fee of $50 – which all teachers will pay to the Teachers Council – should go direct to the Council and not the Government’s Treasury Fund as stipulated in the proposed law.The Associate Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Lealailepule Aiafi Rimoni, went a step further and warned the bill had a loophole.“The proposed law has shifted from its core purpose," he said. "In the beginning the Council’s sole purpose was to assure certified teachers are registered and the funds collected will go back to the Council for their developments and projects.”The establishment of the Teacher’s Council early this year – as a regulatory body of Samoa’s educators – was a step in the right direction. The Teachers Act 2016 pushed for the Council’s establishment with the objective of professionalising the teaching profession, through the introduction and maintenance of high teaching standards, and the delivery of quality education to the children. But the Council would need funding in order to formulate programmes to introduce standards in teaching and childhood education for teachers in Samoa. Therefore, it makes sense to get its members (teachers) to pay a fee, but the decision to park the fees in the Treasury Fund instead of a Council-run bank account sounds dubious. Giving the Council some level of financial autonomy is a vote of confidence in a new body charged with the responsibility to formulate, regulate and uphold teaching standards.On the Tax Administration Amendment Bill 2019, some politicians have questioned the rationale to give the Minister power to access “tax and customs information for the purposes of the Act”.The M.P. Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa, who represents the Vaimauga Sasa’e seat, believes the law should not change and there is good reason to prohibit the Minister from having access to such information.“The Tax Administration Act 1974 prohibits the Minister from accessing tax information. The Act was amended in 2012 but that clause remained in the Act, and that is solely to protect tax information of members of the public," he told Parliament.“The Minister can inquire about tax information from his staff. This is the 16th Parliament term and previous Ministers did not have access to the tax information." Sulamanaia said the responsibility to access tax and customs information lies with the Ministry responsible and the Minister should task the chief executive officer.The Salega East M.P. Olo Fiti Vaai expressed similar sentiments and warned the proposed amendment could open the door to abuse, where information held by the Ministry could be “altered”.Concerns about the risks of altering government information should not be downplayed. There have been cases of civil servants caught manipulating official government information for personal benefit. We concur with the concerns highlighted by the two Members of Parliament and like Sulamanaia should ask the same question. Why fix something that is not broken? Surely, the Minister responsible can liaise with his Ministry C.E.O. on information he will need to do his job effectively.The Chief Executive Officers of Ministries are custodians of vital State data, which any government of the day can access and use, in order to effectively roll out goods and services to the constituency and the targeted population. Let us not blur the lines of responsibility between that of a bureaucrat and a Member of Parliament or a Minister of State. By the same token, there is merit in the establishment of a Teacher’s Council, whose 13 members are charged with the responsibility to uphold teaching standards in Samoa. Giving them space and a measure of financial autonomy to carry out their mandate, could go a long way in giving them confidence to do what they do best.Have a lovely Thursday Samoa and God bless. 

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When a nation takes a collective sigh of relief. Thank you Police!

It’s undeniable. Everyone in this country would be resting a lot easier today knowing that two of Samoa’s most dangerous prisoners are back behind bars, where they truly belong.Indeed, it’s perhaps the best news we’ve heard all week and praise is deserved where due. So let’s acknowledge with deep gratitude and appreciation the work by the Police and everyone who played a part in recapturing Lauititi Tualima and Aniseko Vaelei on Wednesday night.We don’t know how they did it. But a brief media statement issued by the Police on Wednesday night would have been one of the most read statements they have ever issued. “Samoa Police Service wishes to inform the public that we have the two escaped prisoners, namely Lauititi Tualima and Aniseko Vaelua in custody,” the announcement read. “S.P.S. acknowledges the assistance and support of the Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services and members of the public for the information that lead to this successful apprehension of the two escaped prisoners.”And that’s all we wanted to hear. What matters is that these men have been caught and members of the public feel a lot safer and more secured.It’s fair to say that since Sunday when the news broke that the two men had escaped once more, this time from a brand new $18.2million high security prison, the country has been bracing itself for the worst. Knowing the history of the criminals in question and the multiple crimes they had committed in the past, anything could have happened.Which is why everyone became nervous. And who wouldn’t be?There are reasons for criminals to be locked up in jail. There is logic for them to be separated from the community. One of those reasons is that they are dangerous and the risk of reoffending is always high.Career criminals like Tualima and Vaelei have proven this time and time again, they simply don’t care. They appear to be the type of prisoners who will be quite happy to continue to commit crimes so they could stay in prison forever.It’s quite sad but that’s the truth. We are talking about people whose actions and behaviour in the past show total disregard for law and order. They do not care who they hurt or what they do. And many people in this country today live to tell horror stories of their encounters with these men.We are talking about women who were raped and mothers who were attacked, robbed and on the verge of being raped. We are talking about elderly members of the community who were subjected to assault and beatings by these people.We are talking about members of the business community who were tortured, robbed and threatened with violence. There are countless stories of what these criminals have subjected innocent members of the public to.This is why when the news that these men had escaped from a brand new multi-million-tala prison facility broke, it sent shockwaves across this country. It’s not that Samoans are not used to having prisoners escape. It’s the idea that a brand new prison, which had been talked up so much by the Government, has only taken prisoners just over two months to figure how to get out! That’s what was disturbing about this whole debacle.It is not a good look for the Minister responsible and the Government. They would have been deeply embarrassed by what unfolded. Which is perhaps why they have also acted quickly to suspend the Commissioner of Prisons and Correction Services, Taitosaua Edward Winterstein.It’s an interesting decision to say the least. It has set a benchmark that could be very tough to follow especially if prisoners keep on escaping, as we have seen over the years. But should they stop with the Commissioner? What about people above him, including his political masters? Should they not be held accountable too?In confirming the suspension, the Minister of Prisons and Corrections, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, said the decision was made during an urgent Cabinet meeting called on Tuesday.“I can confirm that a [Cabinet Directive] was issued directing the suspension of the Commissioner pending an investigation,” said Tialavea.The Minister declined to reveal who is conducting the investigation and what it would be looking into. So let’s wait and see.That aside though, we believe it is about time a full inquiry is conducted into the systems governing prisons in Samoa. For many years, the blame was always on the poor state of the Tafa’igata prison. That can no longer be an excuse today.With a hefty investment of Government funding in a brand new prison, we need to see some results. Indeed, this investment has got to be translated to members of the public being better protected from criminals, who don’t belong anywhere else but behind bars where they should remain until their time is done.Today, we want to thank the Police once more and members of the public who played a critical role in recapturing two of Samoa’s most wanted men. Heading to the White Sunday long weekend, we can all rest a little easier.Have a safe Friday Samoa, God bless!             

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Street Talk

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Newborns being abandoned: How do we stop it?

Poutoa Polutele , 41, TufuleleThe solution is within families. The parents should have a connection with their children and they should also teach their child what to do. For the parents, if the girl gets pregnant they should not beat the girl. They should understand and talk with her, because the girl thinks that her parents might beat her and then she makes the wrong decision. It goes back to good relations.Siloi Reopoamo, 53, Saleia Savai’iI think it's very important that parents communicate with their children everyday. One of the biggest issues today is cellphones because too many children spend time on it.  For my family I talk to my kids every time and day, ever since my kids were young. That's my solution.Lina Leiataua, 64, Fa’atoiaI think the whole country should be involved in a programme to encourage girls to speak out when these things happen. We know we cannot stop so we have to be accomodating when it happens. There are also a lot of parents who cannot have children and I think there should be a programme where these children could be adopted. It's just an idea.Api Tuilo’a, 34, Safotu Savai’iOur country needs to repent and ask God for help. I cannot see any other solution unless God is involved. If girls and boys fear God, they wouldn't do what God wouldn't want them to do - and that includes abandoning babies born outside of marriage. We need to be a prayerful nation. Vaisuigi Malio, 52, Vavaai LotofagaThe issue is not new to Samoa. My solution involves families, the relationship between parents and daughter. The kids also need to understand where the parents stand on issues and why they don't want them to get pregnant. But if they do get pregnant, then the parents need to be patient and still work with their children. That's how we solve this.Le’ale’a  Mataia, 39, FalefaGirls who don't have a relationship with their parents would do this. I think that's the first part of the problem. I also think mothers need to read their daughters body language and find out what is going on. Surely there must be signs so they should not be passive. I think we need to tackle this issue as a community rather than individuals. 

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Newborns being abandoned: How do we stop it?

Poutoa Polutele , 41, TufuleleThe solution is within families. The parents should have a connection with their children and they should also teach their child what to do. For the parents, if the girl gets pregnant they should not beat the girl. They should understand and talk with her, because the girl thinks that her parents might beat her and then she makes the wrong decision. It goes back to good relations.Siloi Reopoamo, 53, Saleia Savai’iI think it's very important that parents communicate with their children everyday. One of the biggest issues today is cellphones because too many children spend time on it.  For my family I talk to my kids every time and day, ever since my kids were young. That's my solution.Lina Leiataua, 64, Fa’atoiaI think the whole country should be involved in a programme to encourage girls to speak out when these things happen. We know we cannot stop so we have to be accomodating when it happens. There are also a lot of parents who cannot have children and I think there should be a programme where these children could be adopted. It's just an idea.Api Tuilo’a, 34, Safotu Savai’iOur country needs to repent and ask God for help. I cannot see any other solution unless God is involved. If girls and boys fear God, they wouldn't do what God wouldn't want them to do - and that includes abandoning babies born outside of marriage. We need to be a prayerful nation. Vaisuigi Malio, 52, Vavaai LotofagaThe issue is not new to Samoa. My solution involves families, the relationship between parents and daughter. The kids also need to understand where the parents stand on issues and why they don't want them to get pregnant. But if they do get pregnant, then the parents need to be patient and still work with their children. That's how we solve this.Le’ale’a  Mataia, 39, FalefaGirls who don't have a relationship with their parents would do this. I think that's the first part of the problem. I also think mothers need to read their daughters body language and find out what is going on. Surely there must be signs so they should not be passive. I think we need to tackle this issue as a community rather than individuals. 

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Street Talk: Govt.'s new T.V. station starts a conversation

Fatasione Leota, 52, Vaitele FouI only watch T.V. when the Manu Samoa rugby is on, and local news to know what is happening around Samoa. With the Government having a television [station] of their own, well, to me, I support [it] fully, because it might lessen the cost of advertising, because like T.V3, T.V1 and other television station are so expensive. Also, I hope that this Government television station will inform the public about what is happening in the Parliament. And it will be great to hear something new for a change, and see what the Government of Samoa is going through.  Joe Tialavea, 26, FaleapunaI like to watch all the programmes [on] T.V. but [most of all] I watch local news, and the lali programme. For me, I support what the Government [is doing by] having their own television station because its shows that our government is developed. Also, we can now know what the government is doing for our country; and what is going on within the Government.Joseph Mika, 28 Vaiusu – UtaTo me, I only watch the movies that come [on] at night, and also the rugby games. For me, the Government having a television [station] is a great idea because now all the people of Samoa can watch and witness everything the Government is planning, for example like the Parliament meeting[s]. I am totally support[ive of] the Government's television station. Luisa Sauaga , 51, ApiaI only like to watch church services and gospel songs, and local news. But with the Government planning to establish a television station, well, it's a great thing [and] I totally support the idea from the Government.By them having their own T.V. station it will provide the people [news about] what is happening in the Government.Timo Fatu, 22, Sigamoga  To me I watch T.V. only when there [are] movies coming and also the rugby games of our country's team, the Manu Samoa. I totally support what the Government is planning [by] having a T.V. station run by them. Also, them having a T.V.station while it will be good because, we can all know what is happen in our politics. And this Government broadcasting will improve the understanding of the people [about] what is happen in Samoa. 

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Samoans celebrate Manu's 34-9 Rugby World Cup victory over Russia

Marasavan Misieli, 45, SainaThe performance of the Manu Samoa team in the first half was a worry. But the second half was great for the team, and it was a satisfying for me to watch. I watched the game at home in the company of my children, we had to wake up late in the night to watch the game and support the team.Spencer Togagai, 43, MalieLast night's game was great, though there were some mistake made by the players, nonetheless I enjoyed it. I saw the Manu Samoa players in the first half and they were not focused, but the second half saw the boys starting to play their game. Watching the game at home with my family was good.Faaoso Filo, 28, Manono-utaIt was great viewing for me despite the number of mistakes that the boys made in the first half. But the second half performance was a good outcome for the team. The players should do some work on their tackle skills and avoid yellow cards by not making high tackles. Watching the game at home is the best and works for me.Shaun Lemamea, 21, Matautu LefagaI watch the game in my own house and it was a great opening game for our team. I have played rugby before and I know what it is like on the field. However, there were a few mistake made by the boys. There was a mistake by the first–five-A player Tusi Pisi – who give away lots of goals. Another other thing was players falling off tackles and their inferior passing skills.Saniai Pule, 50, Falelauniu To me the game was a great spectacle – even the team went against bigger and stronger players – I also want to thank the team and coach for a job well done. Even though there were some errors during the game last night, let it be a lesson so they can be ready for the next game.Peter Mariner, 43, Saleilua SavaiiThe Manu Samoa game was satisfying to watch. Okay there were some errors made by the players. Despite the disappointment they came back strongly in the second half to defeat Russia. A big concern for me was all the conversion kicks that the first-five-eight missed, ensuring they didn't get the extra points through the boot. Nonetheless it was a great game of rugby. 

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Letter to Editor

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China and developments at Mulifanua

Kevin Hart’s letter of 03 September complained about the Chinese being a likely buyer of Government’s shareholding in the Sheraton Samoa Resort at Mulifanua. Which raises the question; what is wrong with Chinese investors getting involved in tourism development in Samoa anyway especially when there isn’t much interest from elsewhere? Virtually every other country in the Pacific and the world including the US and Australia, China’s foremost critics have been enjoying the benefits of Chinese trade, investment, and tourism. So why not Samoa?Whether people like it or not, China will be a major player in the region, and it will only get worse with time for those who wish it otherwise. And in any case, one can’t do business with China as China’s critics do, and then seek to deny the Pacific Islands the same privilege by engaging in fearmongering about China’s intentions.  Samoa’s deputy prime minister called this bahaviour recently, patronizing and offensive. It is also dishonest. One would have thought that with colonialism still fresh in people’s minds, China’s detractors might have tried some more subtle way to make their case about China being a threat to Island nations. After all, these are nations that have only recently won back their own sovereignty from countries that are accusing China, a victim of colonialism itself, of malevolent intent in the Pacific.  Samoa’s prime minister made the point at the Pacific Island Forum that China is not an enemy of Samoa, which adheres to a “friend to all and enemy to none” approach to old and new comers alike to the region. The Pacific islands have legitimate economic needs and environmental interests that the former colonial powers in the Pacific have been unable to meet or in some cases totally ignored. Over the years, the Pacific Island nations have even been blamed for supposedly lagging in economic growth behind other parts of the world that receive similar levels of aid. But more recent work on the subject has confirmed what the Pacific Islands have known all along. And that is when you are small, highly fragmented and horribly isolated, your costs of attempting any form of economic activity are always going to be high no matter what you do.  China’s willingness and ability to help bridge this aid gap is welcomed therefore. It also helps that China has a different approach in its relations with the tiny and insignificant Pacific Island states and peoples. And it happens it’s an approach that the Pacific peoples themselves understand all too well and appreciate. Its an approach that recognizes the inherent dignity of peoples irrespective of colour, money and level of development. The result is that in spite of the fear mongering about China’s supposedly hidden agenda even in the face of evidence to the contrary, the Pacific Islands have seen no reason to believe this crude and offensive propaganda.  There appears to have been a notable increase lately in the number of visits by navy vessels and personnel from the US and Australia doing the usual public relations soft sell with various groups including school children. The visit on board these war machines and the helicopter rides for the children will have been the thrill of a lifetime for many. One suspects that we will be seeing more of these as the West sets out to contain the rise of Chinese influence in the region. The visits bring back to mind the colonial days of gun boat diplomacy in the Pacific when control of native populations was exercised mainly through the firepower of visiting warships when turned on native communities that failed to toe the line   Samoa’s prime minister is reported to have said recently in relation to the stepped-up competition that Samoa’s main interest and focus of diplomacy is to raise standards of living and provide for its people’s needs. In the circumstances, public relations and making friends with young people will only go so far in winning influence especially in the face of China’s hard cash. Airy catch phrases such as Step Up, (Australia), Pacific Uplift, (UK), something about Family? (US), can easily backfire. A meeting between Chinese leaders and Pacific Island leaders being hosted by Samoa in October this year should be quite an event especially at this time. It will most likely see among other things the unveiling of some new aid and trade initiative by China.   And as for Chinese interests possibly helping to bring more air services to Samoa, that too would be a welcome relief from the monopolistic practices of Air New Zealand, Virgin Airways and Fiji Airways, the three carriers that operate services in Samoa today. After being badly burnt in yet another one-sided partnership with an Australian carrier, the Samoan government did the right thing for Samoa in starting up Samoa Airways in spite of the risks and poor timing. When Polynesian Airlines started international services to New Zealand in the late 1970s, it did so mainly on the strength of Samoa’s own ethnic traffic between the two countries. The airline did well even then, until gross mismanagement grounded it with heavy losses. In spite of its inauspicious beginnings, Samoa Airways if properly managed and run, (by professionals preferably), has every chance of being the catalyst for Samoa to have the airline services it so badly needs. But it is helpful as government embarks on this to be reminded that we have been down this very road before. The lessons of history are there and must be learnt and heeded, if their repetition is to be avoided. Incidentally, as for a possible flooding of the To-Sua with tourists from China if direct charter flights were to start between China and Samoa, I have a suggestion. Make the climb down to the water even more challenging than it is now. That should encourage only the young and the brave to take the plunge. Afamasaga F ToleafoaLetava

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Sisters provide update on Nathan Keil

Most people in Samoa know who Nathan Keil is - or at least recognize him. He has grown up in the public eye and has so many friends. It has been about a year since our father, Hans Joachim “Joe” Keil passed away, and we wanted to give you all an update on Nathan and thank all those who reach out to him and help ease the pain that he still feels.Nathan's best friend was his Dad. They did so much together.They often worked together, ate together, went to many functions together and traveled together. They had such a great relationship: one that any father and son team would be envious of.They would have breakfast in the morning before work and dinner late in the evening.  They would walk to the store every morning together to buy the Samoa Observer before breakfast.  Then head out to work after breakfast. Usually around lunch time Dad would take Nathan home and after lunch Nathan would stay home and Dad would go back to work.In the evenings, Nathan would wait to have dinner with his Dad - who sometimes got home late because of meetings - but Nathan would still wait and they would eat together.  Sometimes our mother would eat meals with them. But sometimes she wouldn't because she would eat and then go check on her mother.Now our mother makes sure she eats with Nathan unless he is off having dinner with an uncle, aunt or cousins.  Nathan still talks to our father every day.  He says hello to our father's pictures in the living room and calls out greetings to him whenever he passes the gravesite just down the road.  At nights, Nathan talks to our Dad in the moon.  He says he can see our Dad smiling down from the moon. He tells our Dad how much he loves him and misses him every day.  He smiles, he laughs, he cries.  And we all cry with him - because although we all miss our father as well, and are still heartbroken that he is gone  - Nathan feels it 10 times more - because none of us were best friends with our father the way Nathan was.So to everyone who has helped ease this transition for Nathan - thank you!Thank you to Corey, Niko, Aotearoa and Nathan’s friends at TV3 for continuing to make Nathan feel like he is The Boss at TV3. Because that is what our father always let Nathan believe.Thank you to Tasha and Francis for giving him a job assembling boxes at the cake shop.  He is such a dedicated worker.Thank you to uncles, aunts and cousins who include Nathan in their family celebrations and gatherings.  Thank you to those who pick him up and take him to the movies, to church, to the gym or other places.Thank you to those who text him or call him because it makes him feel so special.And thank you especially to our mother Celine for filling the void as best as you can.  For although you and Nathan are close - Dad was Nathan's best buddy.God bless!Nathan’s sisters,Violette, Bella and Katrina

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We need to urgently review entire vaccination programme in Samoa

I read James Robertson’s article titled “Government needs to dispense hard truths to cure vaccine mistrust”with interest and also great concern.It is actually bordering on unscientific scare mongering. Just a few corrections for you. Firstly there were THREE (3) deaths last year on administration of MMR vaccine. Two from malpractice and one caused by a hyperactive immune response to the MMR vaccine itself. The first death we only became aware of because the parents came forward due to the deaths later on in the year in Safotu. How many more parents are not coming forward? How many more deaths are we experiencing that we are totally unaware of?This clearly demolishes your quote from the honourable judge supporting that vaccines are safe.You say that the country is in dire danger because of the recent significant fall in vaccines with the assumption that increased vaccination will protect against the disease. So let us put this to the test with the little data that we actually have on vaccination in Samoa and how Samoa has fared according to our reports submitted to WHO. Do you know that when we had our highest vaccination rates we had our highest rates of measles? That throws a bit of a spanner in the works doesn't it.You are likely unaware but in the Disney land outbreak in 2015, 38% of the people who got measles were FULLY VACCINATED. That is a bit of a worry isn't it? https://jcm.asm.org/content/55/3/735?fbclid=IwAR3a6XBFsukEBAbHNvS3PTN98f_YOeBGpGcPDIVhFhKznl6IPlHcO98bsF8Vaccinologists promised us that the following would happen:Life long immunity from the vaccine. Clearly has not happened as per Disney Land outbreakWould eliminate serious complications and mortality from measles. Has not happened as in the death last year that we know of and how many more???Eradication of the disease (was forecast by Merck to be 1967) - clearly has not happened.Will not shed -New York, primary source of infection? 2 dose vaccinated individual - vaccine is causing outbreaks: https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/58/9/1205/2895266You mention Britain with 95% vaccination rate? Well they are having outbreaks. Merck promised that at 55% immunization rate they would replicate herd immunity and prevent outbreaks. Sounds like they were a bit arrogant don't you think and completely underestimated and misunderstood how the immune system and disease works.Just to emphasis how little you actually know about MMR and how it is working - there are 99% vaccinated populations that are still experiencing outbreaks. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3930734/Something your are also clearly unaware of - neutralizing antibody titers (the stuff in your blood that tells you you are immune to a virus) are no longer at protective levels in older populations DUE TO VACCINATIONS. What does this actually mean?It means that mothers cannot pass on CRITICAL PASSIVE IMMUNITY TO NEONATES through the placenta pre birth and breast milk. You therefore have a two fold horror show occurring. Your very young children and your older population are becoming at risk of getting measles. Both ages ranges where the disease is MUCH MORE DANGEROUS.The science is CLEARLY showing that the vaccine is failing and is creating a true horror show that we are just now starting to experience and is evidenced by the increasing numbers of outbreaks in fully vaccinated individuals and highly vaccinated populations.So what do we do in a situation where a vaccine is not only dangerous in itself, but is ineffective and making things worse?Stop the programme IMMEDIATELY. Ensure we have protocols in place to tackle measles such as the vitamin A protocol that WHO recommend and the vitamin C protocol the Dr. Archie Kalekerinos implimented in Northern Australia with resounding success.This is how we protect Samoa and we urgently need to review the entire vaccine program in Samoa to ensure we are not making a bad situation worse.Edwin Tamasese

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A nation coming apart at the seams

I write in relation to some sad and tragic incidents with these poor little souls being abandoned without any regard to the almighty God who created these little lives, who by the way has been and still is watching and seeing whoever did these horrendous acts.You maybe able to hide it from the human eyes...but e ati le silafaga ale Atua ia te oe. Talofae ia te oe male tulaga lena ua e iai ile taimi nei. Ailoga e mafai na e moe, e le leai se filemu i lou mafaufau. E o'o lava ina e savali mae e fasa ile auala. Talofa e, e Alofa le Atua i tagata uma.This is the even more tragic side of this kind of act which should have been the first and foremost thing to look at if we as a nation are to find solutions.We need to fix the mentality that creates the situation, resulting in unwanted babies.Malo lava i le Samoa Family Health Association. O lo'o fai pea a latou galuega ile fa'ailoa o auala ese'ese e puipuia ai le fai ose pepe i taimi le talafeagai, so they are pushing their message of family planning etc.But they need to go out even further into the community.I thought there was a great suggestion by Rev. Aisoli Iuli about the baby Hatch. Yes its an overseas thing but if it saves one precious life, why not? These work very well overseas by the way.The message from the Samoa Victims Support Group is loud and clear. Malo Siliniu Lina Chang.If you're a young girl or any woman who finds themselves in this unfortunate situation as a result of poor decisions or whatever circumstance, please visit the SVSG and talk to them if you can’t talk to your family. There is help available.  There is a reason why the Maternity Wing was created at the Samoa Victim Support Group for this very purpose.There are not questions, no judgment. Just love and help for you.They can house you until the birth of the baby and either you take baby home or lots of folks are listed for adoption. Some one is ready to take baby home, not throw them away like this.Lastly, I believe we can resolve this issue with God as our Support and Leader.The government schools are doing some Sex Education but that is still not enough.It’s ok for the young people attending school but what about the young woman or girl out in the village or at home not going to school anymore and she finds herself pregnant? Tulou lo’u gutu male afi, o i tonu lava e pa'u ile faletua ole Ekalesia, aua e fai a tatou mafutaga a Tina i aulotu uma.This is a good way to bring the moms and young daughters of your congregations, and talk about this topic.Reassure them if it does happen because we are still in and of the world, there is always someone to talk to. Likewise the Fathers and young sons and men...THE BIBLE DOES SAY, YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF GOD.That’s my two cents piece. Collectively with Love and understanding instead of anger and condemnation. Samoa we can help each other. God bless.Manuia le Aso. Ma lo'u fa'aaloalo,Lupe-Lu Lohmann

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