It is very sad to notice the escalating increase in crime activities in Samoa.
Sociologists argue and try to explain of many different causes of why some people impose deviant behaviours on others. They even try to explain their theories where the issues of race, colour, physical appearances, socio- economic and political reasons (including unemployment) as some of the contributing factors to the problem.
They argue that crime is one of many elements of economic development that any society will experience in the take-off stage in the development theory.
I will not provide a counter argument to all these sociological thinking, but I will simply put down my own personal view of which I feel is another root cause to this disease. My personal view is based on my personal experience of different societies in the region that experience similar problems.
Of all the crimes that we hear about in the news such as robberies, arsons, domestic violence against women and children, physical attacks, murder and many others, one will agree that 90% of all have been committed while the offenders and victims or vise versa were under the influence of alcohol.
I do not have the statistics, but I feel that the crime figures started to escalate 6 or 7 years ago. One could recall that it was this period that all these so called hard liquors entered the local market and have them easily available on shelves of almost every shop in Samoa. Have a look at every village and corner around the country and you will agree with me that you will find gatherings of youth consuming these so called fagumalosi. (fagu omo, fagu maso etc)
Their availability and accessibility on shelves, and cheap prices affordable to the youth, (majority are unemployed) make the youth market easy targets . Rarely you see them consuming Vailima beer or other form of imported well brewed beer…or good brands of hard liquour…. it is just cheap fagumalosi all over (fagu fai maso,fagu omo, etc..as they call them..)
Have a look at how they behave in their drinking sessions, and the language they use, it is purely poisonous.
Perhaps an argument may arise that allowing these type of beverages to be on local shelves enticing our poor youth is good for VAGST as a source of income earner for the country, but we now see that the costs now far outweigh the benefits. Violence, and crime of all sorts are the results. Further, the cost to our National Health services, families and friends of parties affected, and the community at large and other social services is incomparable.
Getting to this root of the problem will stop us from blaming the parents, Pulega Mamalu a Alii & Faipule, Churches and the government.
The pressure will keep on mounting and our society will see and experience a Samoa that we never dream of in the very near future.
I do hope that these comments will be taken seriously by policy and law makers to provide a remedy to this Crime disease in Samoa. There may be many other socio-economic factors that contribute to the problem, but I personally feel that having these cheap fagumalosi easily available on shelves of almost every shop in Samoa is a poison to our society.
Ia manuia tele galuega, o tiute ma faiva o loo feagai ai le atunuu i ona tafa uma.
Ulu Maluofinao Shinn Ete
Ed’s note: This letter was printed four years ago in the Samoa Observer. Given the relevancy of its content to what is happening today, the author requested if it could be republished. Ulu is happy to see that the Attorney General has now supported the idea of raising higher taxes for such cheap alcohol as another control.