Maintain cultural practices to keep order, says Mayor
A village mayor has appealed to other villages not let the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown impact their decision-making when it comes to maintaining order and civility in the community.
Leulumoega-Tuai Village Mayor, Ogotia Talosaga Pauli, told the Samoa Observer that he believes some villages have given up their cultural practices which plays an important role in maintaining discipline amongst families and youth as the lockdown continues.
"These cultural practices and values are the reasons why our villages are proud of themselves and they tell why we are Samoans and if we take them away, we will lose the respect we have for our culture and our descendants," he said in an interview.
Ogotia could not identify which villages have abandoned their cultural practices.
However, with Samoan traditions and customs, it is undeniable a lot has changed since the pandemic-inspired lockdown started.
Some families including a family in Manono Island buried a deceased family member on the same day she died due to financial downturn. Though, a family member said it wasn't just about finances but an opportunity to bring back an ancient Samoan cultural practice from the early years.
Other villages also reduced their fines for those who broke village rules in line with the economic downturn, the Samoa Observer understands.
Ogotia said despite the financial downturn, the Leulumoega-Tuai village council maintains its fines for breaking village rules.
Any matai who breaks village rules are subject to pay $1,000 or more while the residents pay $500 and above at Leulumoega-Tuai.
"Some villages are freeloading on the excuse of financial impacts during this time around, without even thinking about the value in these practices and how they represent us as Samoans," he said.
Ogotia further claimed that about 70 per cent of crimes occurring in the country is due to the lack of disciplinary actions taken by villages.
"Villages are like families. They teach our children and our people how to behave, how to sit, stand and talk as all kept talking about and having the rules to go with it can make a huge change in this country despite challenges brought about by the lockdown or anything else,” he added.
"Let's keep that respect we have for our culture and villages should step forward in leading our residents to make a change in this time of challenges and threats posed by the Covid-19. That's teamwork."