Pacific Media Watch

20 August 2019

SAMOA: Mystery deaths, assassination plot, forgery, drugs. What’s going on?

Police investigations are continuing into allegations of a plot to assassinate the Samoan Prime Minister. Image: Misiona Simo/Samoa Observer

OPINION: By Mata'afa Keni Lesa
APIA (Samoa Observer/Pacific Media Watch):
What exactly is going on in Samoa today? We’ve got to ask this question following a string of tragic incidents during the past couple of weeks that continues to boggle the mind.

To be honest, one just wants to sit down and cry. This is supposed to be our slice of paradise on earth where tranquility and peace rule. And yet there are so many mysteries, unresolved deaths, crime and the list just goes on.

If you haven’t noticed, the biggest story during the past week has been about an alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister. 

But that is just one of them.

READ MORE: Why the alleged assassination plot against the PM cannot be ignored

Folks, when a man and a woman, let alone a pastor of a church at that, are found dead in a vehicle without an explanation, something does not sound right.

When women gang up to beat the life out of another woman in front of a school where countless children are watching, something tells us there is definitely something amiss in the air.

When theft is rampant, when incest and rape become so commonplace, when incidents of stabbing and shooting happen week in and week out, it’s impossible to think this is how it should be. And that’s because it is not. This is not normal.

Drugs dominating the news
When drug dealing, especially hard drugs, dominate the news, when border protection officials intercept large sums of illegal drugs at different points of entries, we have got to wake up Samoa. There is something terribly amiss about the make up of this country today.

Now look at the front page of the Weekend Observer. A story titled “Couple sentenced for forging police report” was hard to get past. According to the story, the couple apparently forged the police clearance report to have their pastor’s vehicle used as part of the transport fleet in last month's 2019 XVI Pacific Games.

It turned out that Virginia Faauuga and Setu Lefaoseu, of Ma'agao, have both pleaded guilty to forgery and three charges of using forged documents. Ironically, the couple are youth group leaders in a church denomination in Apia.

In sentencing them, Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke, said when the couple committed the offending, he had no doubt they knew what they did was dishonest and wrong.

“Yet, despite knowing that you shouldn’t create the forged documents, you did so nevertheless and submitted them for the tender in an effort to secure a contract for the PG (Pacific Games),” he said.  “It is important that people like yourselves lead by example. Our youth who you preach to look up to you both.

Preaching without hollow words
“When you preach, they should not be hollow words that come from you but words of sincerity and meaning that you both live by.”

Well we couldn’t agree more. The problem with Samoa is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other people like this couple, many of them turn up to church every Sunday, and still continue to behave in this manner.

But then again what hope is there for anyone else if even the Police are compromised. Another story on the front page of the Weekend Observer was equally troubling. Titled “Police officers suspended over drug bribe,” the story reveals how two men who were supposed to enforce the law blatantly broke it by accepting a bribe from none other than a drug dealer.

The officers apparently accepted a bribe in connection to the $400,000 drug smuggling case currently before Court. It is alleged that the junior officer accepted a bribe from the husband of the Vietnamese woman who is charged for smuggling heroin and cocaine into Samoa last month.

Now bribery is nothing new and so is bribery involving people in high profile positions. But when Police officers are bribed by drug dealers that’s another story. It only points to one thing and that is the Police losing the war of these hard drugs since the suppliers will always be a step ahead.

Isn’t that what has always been happening in Samoa?

We can go on but we will stop here for now.

Stopping here for now
The point is that these disturbing developments do not augur well for a so-called Christian state. We should all be concerned. This is just not normal.

Which brings us back to the question, what is happening in Samoa today? How did we arrive at where we are? Is there any hope? And where do we go from here? What are our leaders doing about it? What is your role? What is mine’s?

Since its Sunday and we are taking a break, perhaps we all need to do a self-evaluation to see where we are and what we need to do. And don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us.

Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

Mata'afa Keni Lesa is editor of the Samoa Observer.

Assassination plot probe turns to financial links

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