This much is undeniable. Wherever there is good, evil will be lurking around the corner looking for an opportunity to strike. And in happy times like the festive season, it’s a given that there will always be sour experiences.
In some cases; extremely frightening. The story on the front page of your newspaper today is one of them. Indeed, the armed robbery of Troels Andersen is not only appalling; it certainly paints a bad picture of this country nobody wants.
Imagine being in safety of your own home when a stranger forces his way in and not only demand things he doesn’t own, he forces you to do other things against your will? That’s precisely what happened on Christmas eve to Mr. Andersen.
Now who would’ve thought that in a Christian state like Samoa such a thing could happen on Christmas eve of all nights? We accept that petty crimes have been increasing and instances of robbery and thefts have become quite common place which should be a major concern for all the leaders of Samoa.
But what happened to Mr. Andersen is another level. This is something we would expect to see in a movie. Even worse, the 27-year-old was on the phone to his mother when all this unfolded.
“Initially I thought it was someone I knew playing a prank, but then you see a knife,” Mr. Andersen recalls. “He said to me, where is the money, show me the money. I pointed to my coffee table where all my stuff is and said take what you want.
“He took the contents of my wallet, about T$200 and then he took my portable speaker, all my shoes, my cigarettes, anything he could, and the keys to the car.”
If you have read the front-page story, you would know the rest of the story by now.
We want to say that what happened to Mr. Andersen is quite sad. It is such a shameful thing to happen to anyone who visits this country – let alone a person like the victim in this case whose work with the UNDP is primarily geared towards improving the prospects of all the people in Samoa.
Today, Mr. Andersen has left the country out of fear. He was so terrified by the ordeal he flew out the very next day. You can’t blame him. Visitors come to Samoa because it is safe and secure; they neither expect nor deserve this kind of treatment.
We hope the Police catch whoever is responsible for the attack. We also hope is made to face the full force of the law so that an example could be made of people who hurt innocent people and dishonour this country by shaming us all this way.
At the end of the day, we are Samoans. We know we are much better than that.
Are we perfect? No. Far from it. But we also know we are not a nation of criminals. Which is why the relevant authorities must do everything in their power to deal with this kind of behaviour. We don’t need it, nobody does.
At this point, as a Samoan, I’d like to extend a heartfelt apology to Mr. Andersen about the way he was treated. We hope that his time in Samoa would have given him other better memories than the ones he experienced just before he left.
We’d also like him to know that he was not the only one to have suffered as a result of evildoers during that same Christmas eve. On the other side of Upolu, Tavita and his wife were lucky to have escaped unharmed after men threw rocks at their vehicle.
Tavita and his wife were on their way to the Faleolo International Airport to drop off his brother when the vehicle was set upon by drunken men. In speaking to the Samoa Observer, Tavita wanted to alert motorists to be extra careful. He also called on Village Councils and Village Mayors in Samoa to be more vigilant in monitoring the activities of young men and women who drink and loiter on public roads, especially at night.
“I personally think it is in the best interest of everyone’s safety that villages be strict on drinking on the main roads. They should drink and celebrate at their homes not on the roads,” he said.
We couldn’t agree more.
Besides, alcohol should never be an excuse for criminal behaviour. Far too many people blame alcohol. The simple rule is that if they can’t handle it, stay far, far away from it.
Drink a niu, coffee or water and enjoy the festive season.
There is much to enjoy at this time of the year rather than having to deal with evil people who know nothing but to inflict pain, harm and steal people’s joy at a time when everyone should be in a relatively jovial mood.
So please look after yourself out there, God bless!