Heartless thieves in times of sorrow

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Acts of looting and stealing by thugs taking advantage of the suffering of innocent members of the public and the business community during the cyclone is the kind of menace this country can definitely do without. 

We are talking about the high number of theft cases, robberies and people pilfering goods from businesses who are trying to get back on their feet. 

This is absolutely disgusting. The idea this is happening in Samoa is downright sad. We should do everything in our power to stop it. Now.

Folks, it’s hard enough dealing with the devastation left by Cyclone Gita on its own. The last thing we need are heartless, calculated, cold and uneducated fools who prey on people’s vulnerability at a time when everybody should come together to put their best foot forward to help each other.

There is no denying the fact that in this country today; we all need to be helping one another in the aftermath of the cyclone. And to a large extent, we’ve seen that during the past few days. We are extremely grateful for many Good Samaritans who have gone out of their way to clothe, feed and provide basic necessities and more for Samoa’s most needy. 

In most cases, these are families whose homes were wrecked by the flooding brought by Cyclone Gita. Some of them have had to be accommodated at emergency shelters in Upolu and Savai’i where they have been offered safe shelter until they can recover.

Elsewhere, public servants, namely workers for Samoa Met Office, Electric Power Corporation (E.P.C.), Samoa Water Authority (S.W.A.), Disaster Management Office (D.M.O.), Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.), Police, Ministry of Health (M.O.H.), Samoa Red Cross Society and many more have been working tirelessly to ensure everyone who needs help is catered for. It is a hard job but their dedication during the past few days is admirable amidst the trying circumstances. We say thank you very much.

We also owe a vote of thanks to the telecommunication companies, Bluesky, Digicel and Netvo who have ensured minimal disruption to our internet coverage. Let’s not forget the Radio services on FM and AM, the supermarket owners, workers, petrol station attendants and everyone else who have helped to make the past few days bearable. 

This is the kind of teamwork we are talking about. In tough times like this, it is this type of commitment that keeps a nation together. And in Samoa, we’ve proven this time and time again during natural disasters.

We might disagree on many different issues but we know where we stand when we need to come together for the sake of this country we call home. Everyone just performs their role which is fantastic to see.

But then there are always the bad apples. The sort of people who have nothing better to do but look for an opportunity to rob, steal and destroy. 

Which is what has been happening since the cyclone was declared last weekend.

We’ve been told that the Police are investigating a number of theft and robbery cases that took place on Friday night and early Saturday morning. They struck when the electricity was switched off and when many businesses in town were struggling to deal with floods. 

Reports of people helping themselves to money, food, alcohol and other goods are extremely disturbing. But the looting didn’t stop with businesses, we’ve been further told. Even homes were broken into where thieves again ran off with jewelry, money and alcohol.

Don’t get us wrong. You can understand when people take food but to rob for alcohol is something else. What is wrong with these people? And where is their humanity in times like these?

This tells of everything that is wrong with this country today. 

While there are many people who are genuinely making a decent effort to improve their lot and other people’s lives, there are also those who are heartless and are not afraid to commit daylight robbery to get what they want.

We only hope the Police catch them as soon as possible and throw them behind bars where they truly belong.

Take care and God bless, Samoa!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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