Looking ahead at 2017

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

This much is undeniable. 

New Year resolutions are the talk of days and weeks like the one we are in now. 

It’s the first week of the new year and most people have leapt off the blocks on the road towards realising those new year goals. Hundred miles an hour they’ve gone and so far so good. All in the four days of a 365 day year. Great.

Whatever the resolution is, if you’ve come this far then good on you. It’s an exciting time, nervous one for some. That’s because time flies and before we know it, those goals will be forgotten until this time again next year. 

Indeed today we are on the cusp of another exciting 12 months ahead. And with most offices back to work, let’s take a minute to acknowledge the hard work of those who made the holidays the great one we all enjoyed. 

We are talking about people who toiled throughout the public holidays tirelessly to allow us to celebrate. Such people include Police officers all over Samoa, the doctors and the nurses at the hospitals throughout the country. 

We acknowledge the hardworking crew of the Samoa Shipping Corporation who keep the travelling public moving between Savai’i, Upolu and vice versa. Sometimes we take for granted the work these public servants do but it is times like these when we come to accept that without them, inter-island travel would be a nightmare. 

Let’s not forget those supermarkets, stores, hotels, restaurants, bars, bus, taxi drivers and all service providers that remained opened during the holidays. 

We thank you for providing such essential services and doing so with a smile.

We also want to thank the Meteorological Office, the staff of the Disaster Management Office, the airlines and their workers, the airport workers, radio workers, the Electric Power Corporation workers, Samoa Water Authority and all public servants who were on call in case of emergencies. 

These people would have had to sacrifice time with their families and loved ones for the call of duty. We want you to know that the people of Samoa appreciate your service. You all play such a vital role in days like this and we are all indebted to you for your commitment and dedication.

Now looking ahead at the new year, there is absolutely no doubt in our minds that there is a lot of work to be done. Obviously the issue of street vendors is getting out of hand and that should be a priority.

At the beginning of 2016, we said that when you look around Samoa today, we are immediately reminded of the saying that all that glitters is not gold. 

At the start of 2017, not much has changed.

There are so many new buildings and multi-million-tala projects but who do they belong to? Do they belong to our people or are we being swept from underneath our feet as a people by the sweetness of aid and lollipops being dangled out there to distract our attention? 

The fact is this. Our land is under threat, our fish is being stolen as we look on, our sacred titles have become a joke in many respects and now our birthrights are being put on the market for the highest bidder. 

We’ve asked these questions before but we will ask them again today as we look to the future:

• What do we see in the future of Samoa? 

• Will there be a future for our children? 

• Where do you see Samoa in 20 years? 

• What about 50 years? A hundred years?

For this newspaper, our biggest hope is that 2017 will become the year when Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s government will not make any excuses but clean up the rot called corruption and abuse that has been going on behind closed doors for far too long inside some government ministries and corporations.

The time has come for the government to address these issues once and for all. The government has been ignoring them, turning a blind eye to it hoping that it would somehow go away.

Whereas the abuse of power continues to rob vulnerable members of the community of what is rightfully theirs in terms of education, health and basic social services, suffering and hardship are evident everywhere you look. 

Far too many young people and not so young people in Samoa are resorting to a life of begging and hustling to merely get by. Others have chosen to make Tafa’igata Prison their home.

These problems did not come into existence overnight. 

They are the symptoms of a system that’s legitimised corruption and allowed wrongdoing to be viewed as normal so the problems of today is the price every one is paying.

Now are we going to allow 2017 to become another year where we pretend that everything is all fine and dandy when the truth is quite the opposite? 

Have a great Friday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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