Tuilaepa’s government was clearly warned about those “rubbish” vehicles

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

The truth is this. The government was clearly warned about Samoa becoming a dumping ground for cheap vehicles before it embarked on the controversial road switch a few years ago. 

Members of the public would recall that one of the major points of contention raised by opponents of the switch at the time was caused by fears that by allowing old and cheap vehicles to be brought in, the impact on the environment would be massive. This is for a small island country already struggling with a huge solid waste problem.  

The government didn’t listen obviously.

Now all of a sudden, it has woken up to realise the magnitude of the problem they were forewarned about and the reaction is as typical as the attitude we’ve seen over the years. 

Without any warning, the sudden change of plan in relation to the age of vehicles that can be exported to Samoa is another classic case of a government that’s become far too powerful it can do whatever it wants, whenever. 

Folks, they don’t care about what you and I think. They feel invincible so they can do whatever suits their purposes, regardless of  the consequences.

Look at how many times the public servants have been given half day holidays paid for by taxpayer’s money for instance? 

And they act like this is totally normal. 

This is not normal. This doesn’t feel like a democracy. If anything, it really is starting to resemble a dictatorship where rulers rule with an iron fist. It is also very typical of a one-party state.

Getting back to the issue of vehicles, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi last week defended the government’s decision to change the age limit of vehicles imported to Samoa from twelve to eight years.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Tuilaepa said times are changing and there is a need to bring in newer vehicles.

“It doesn’t mean that we import cars and continue on with (importing) rubbish,” he said. 

Now hang on minute. Rubbish? 

Wasn’t it P.M. Tuilaepa’s government that allowed this so-called “rubbish” to be brought in in the first place? If they knew it was rubbish, why did they allow it? And why has it taken so long for them to realise that it’s rubbish? Looking at some of these vehicles, even “idiots” and “fools” would know it is rubbish.

But then again. We’ve got to be careful here. Remember that one man‘s “rubbish” is another man’s treasure. 

Maybe if the government had lent their ears and taken on some constructive advice prior to the switch, they could have come up with a better policy so that this rubbish wouldn’t be happening. 

Don’t get us wrong. The decision to change the age limit of vehicles to eight years makes a lot of sense in terms of the environment. It would go a long way to address fears about these unused vehicles piling up, making Samoa the latest dumping ground for cheap imports.

But these decisions affect members of the public and they must be informed well in advance. 

Take for example the Manager of Alnima Motors, Shahjahan Fazor, who told the Samoa Observer they were only made aware about the change recently.

He said the short notice means their bulk order scheduled to arrive early next year, might have to be returned. 

And this will cost them dearly. 

“This is the busiest time of the year and we have already processed our orders to arrive next year,” said Mr. Fazor.  

“The short notice really does affect our business because we made our orders three months prior because of the long process.”

We feel for Mr. Fazor. And we are pretty sure he is not the only one. 

He is in for a tough time though. It’s not as if the government is likely to change its mind. After all they have shown consistently they do whatever they feel like – whether we agree or not. But then that what else did we expect from a one party state?

Here’s wishing all the lucky public servants an enjoyable half day holiday while those slaves in the private sector continue to sweat and toil to pay their salaries.

This is downright ridiculous!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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