A section in the daily Samoa Observer highlighting the stories, struggles and giving ordinary people a forum to voice their views has been praised by in American Samoa.
The Village Voice was singled out as an example of a news media making a difference during the American Samoa government’s workforce day celebrations.
The American Samoa Government, for four years now, commemorates a Labour Day to recognise the service provided by the public servants.
The keynote speaker, American Samoa Power Authority and former Senator Utu Abe Malae, emphasised that “there is dignity in working.”
“They can all agree though that it is a blessing to be gainfully employed, to have a job, to earn a living, to support your family to have meaning in life, to serve others, to make the community a better place,” said Utu.
That’s when he referred to the Samoa Observer’s Village Voice section.
“The Samoa Observer in Apia regularly features the stories of men and women who are working hard but struggling to make a living in the rural areas of Samoa, you cannot help but admire them,” said Utu.
He pointed out that jobs are created as a result of economic activity.
“We all know about the importance of fisheries and government services as the two major industries in our territory.
“Tourism is developing incrementally.
“May I suggest that we develop another industry? We must invest in excellent health care –help our hospital become one of the best in the region--in order to attract retirees back home from the States?”
He noted how vital it is to invest in education and training, including vocational education and revamping the way the education system is organised.
“Thank you workers for what you do for our beloved American Samoa. Thank you for your service.”
The former Senator also shared his admiration for those involved in hard labor work.
“I am especially thankful to those of you who work with your hands, laina ma timu’ia, [Genesis 3:19] “by the sweat of your brow”.
“Visiting Manu’a for the first time as a child, waking up at the crack of dawn to the shush- shush sound of the salu tu sweeping the sandy yard, the village was a beehive of activity and I thought to myself, this is really tough getting up so early to work six days a week.
“Yet that is what our forebears did -- hard physical labor on a daily basis,” he said. He also spoke about an ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) meeting in Hawaii, where he listened to the President of a New Zealand company praise the effectiveness of Samoan construction workers.
“His company had hired at least three dozen Samoan cement workers to help build hotels in Guam.
“There are Samoan net repairmen training and working in Mississippi today.
“The managers remarked on the hard work and respect the workers displayed towards their supervisors.
“The HR manager wants to hire more Samoans.”