The Mayor of Apia, Tuiletefuga Siaosi Tuiletufuga, wants to set the record straight.
Speaking to Samoa Observer, he wants to make it clear the street vendors creating many problems on the streets of the Apia Township are not in fact from Apia.
Tuiletufuga wanted to correct the misconception because some people have questioned the leadership of the village of Apia in relation to the growing problem.
“The simple truth is the children involved with these activities do not belong to our village,” Tuiletufuga said.
“We take this issue very seriously and to hear people associate Apia with what’s happening, I want to state for the record that those people are not from Apia.”
Tuiletufuga has spoken out after two videos emerged showing street vendors misbehave. One shows three street vendors beating a homeless man on the streets another one shows them fighting among themselves.
Tuiletufuga said there are some people who go around saying they are from Apia.
“There was this one time when there was a family who stayed at Matautu but they were originally from Leone".
“They used to send their children on the streets to sell goods for money and they went and said that they are from here but they are not.”
The Mayor said Apia has a policy against street vendors.
“We don’t allow that to happen in our village,” he said.
“We have guidelines within our village and I don’t like seeing these kids on the streets. I hate the idea of having these kids on the streets."
“We also have a rule in the village to ban the parents from sending their children on the streets. You’ll find that some of the kids are from Vaisigano but we don’t have any children from Apia.”
Asked for his thoughts on a possible solution, Tuiletufuga said parents should be held accountable.
“There should be a law to take in the parents of these kids because they are creating a bad influence for others and the country,” he said.
“At Apia, we have curfews at night time and they never bother coming to our village because we chase them out and sometimes we call the police and ask them to take the children in.”
The Mayor also adds his voice to growing calls for the government to address the problem.
“This is something our government should look at. They should have a law to stop the parents from sending their children to go from street to street to sell these things.”
He said the government shouldn’t be taking it lightly.
“The way I see it, it is becoming a really big issue."
You see, most of them disturb a lot of people by walking up to them while the people are doing their shopping and asking them if they want to buy from them.
“And if the people say no, that’s when they start saying bad things and disrespecting them."
“Personally, I believe there should be a law for these parents to keep them from sending their children. Shop owners should also stop giving these children goods for them to sell on the streets.”
Last week, when Prime Minister Tuilaepa was asked about a law to charge parents who allow their kids to stay out late at night to sell goods, he said this was unnecessary.
“It’s a foolish matter,” he said. “If we do something like that we will be worse off than Communism. The thing to do is just use your brains.”
Tuilaepa reminded that the government cannot do everything. Parents have to play their role, which includes ensuring that their children are taken care of.
“That’s the stuff parents, Village Councils and Pastors should be looking out for. That’s the duty for all of us,” he said.
“The government doesn’t have to do everything, that’s the responsibility of parents and families. So when we have a law like that, we will be worse of than communist countries. It means that every time you want to go to the toilet you have to ask for permission.”