A paradise we call home and safety

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

The front-page story titled “Mother fears for son’s life” published on the front page of the Samoa Observer on Wednesday is alarming. The photograph that accompanied it which showed a young man with a fractured nose and a bruised face was also very disturbing.

It’s hard to ignore it. 

And having it told during a week when the eyes of the world have been on Samoa, telling them what a beautiful place Samoa is to visit, such incidents are truly concerning.

We say this because they have the ability to undo all the hard work that is being done to lure visitors to these shores to enjoy our culture, hospitality and spend their money here. 

If such behaviour is allowed to continue, these acts of wanton violence will only make a mockery of the Government’s effort to promote Samoa as a safe haven for visitors and tourists.

Which is sad, isn’t it? 

This much is undeniable. We know how beautiful this country is. 

It is indeed a privilege to wake up every day in such pristine beauty, lush environment and peaceful surrounding. 

This week, the Samoa Tourism Authority has been doing its very best to ensure the travelling media and trade representatives from the four corners of the world will return home with these favourable impressions of Samoa. It’s important that they do.

We want them to be so impressed that they would do nothing but think, talk and write about Samoa, doing a stellar job of marketing this place. This is a slice of heaven the world needs to see. It is a worthwhile destination despite the challenges it takes to arrive here.

But here is the thing. When it comes to promoting Samoa, everyone has a responsibility. Me, you, everyone. That includes service providers such as restaurant, bar and nightclub owners.

Now the story in question involved a young man who was apparently beaten outside one of the nightspots in town. He was with some relatives when they were allegedly attacked.

We know fights and beatings at nightclubs are not confined to Samoa. It happens everywhere else due to alcohol and many other factors. 

But this doesn’t make it okay. Far from it.

Looking at what happened, it must be said that there are always two sides to every story.

For instance, what led to the fight? What was said that started it? Or was it really a case of security officers just wanting to fight? 

These questions have not been answered. 

Still, it doesn’t excuse the use of excessive force that would cause such serious injury. The law has been broken and people responsible must be held accountable. That is where the Police should step in and do their job properly.

Aside from that, what we do know is that a 20-year-old is fighting for his life in hospital as a result of the incident. We pray and hope that he recovers. We also wish him and his relatives a speedy recovery.

 In the meantime, it must be asked, what is a 20-year-old doing in a nightclub? 

What is the legal age for someone to enter a nightclub in Samoa? And who monitors these things? 

We know people who are much younger are entering nightclubs at will. When will the relevant authorities see to it that this practice stops? 

What are they waiting for? Until a young person is killed?

These are the questions we have to ask. What happened at the Marina is sad but lessons must be learned from it.

Firstly, the Police must get to the bottom of it, find the people responsible for this brutal attack and hold them accountable according to the law. 

The relevant authorities must also revisit the issue of young people gaining access to places they shouldn’t be at.  It’s happening far too frequently in Samoa and we fear that it is only a matter of time before one of them is killed – but by then it would be too late to do something about it. 

What do you think?

Have a safe Friday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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