Businesswoman Moe Lei Sam has criticised Minister Lautafi Fio Purcell for disrespecting asthma sufferers in Samoa.
She said his comments of a Samoa Airways passenger – who died last month from an asthma attack during an Auckland-Samoa flight – were unfair.
“When I was watching the news on Sunday night, I was very disappointed. The way the Minister Lautafi talks about the people who have asthma, is really unfair and disrespectful and it’s not right to blame the family for it,” she said in an interview with Samoa Observer.
“What got me really disappointed, is that they blamed the family of the child, that they should prepare this and that but no. No one talks with asthma about when it happens. Sometimes it happens on the plane because of the aircon.”
Moe also suffers from asthma and she said it is hard to predict when she will get an attack, consequently she said the Minister’s comments were unjustified.
“Asthma happens anytime and I noticed that because every time I travelled on the plane, when the air is too strong, I start to cough. But the fact that I know how to take care of myself, which is why nothing had happened yet. But this young fella, as far as I’m concerned, the pilot should have returned and saved this little boy. Unless the family did not prepare any medical inhaler for this poor kid, which I’m pretty sure they did because anyone with asthma should have a lot of those medical inhaler. My handbag is full of those because we never know what happens.”
As one of the asthma sufferers, Moe believed that the pilot himself is to be blamed for the unwise decision he made.
“Thirty minutes on the plane and the kid started yelling he was going to die, shouldn’t it supposed to go back because as far as I’m concern the plane was still in Auckland. The pilot should go back to save this little boy’s life.”
“I put hundred percent blame on the pilot for not returning to the airport when he was notify about this particular kid’s condition.”
“Is it too much to save this little boy’s life, say if it’s one of their kid or their family, will they kept on coming to Apia?”
She was also concerned on how the Minister reacted on TV when he was speaking on behalf of the Samoa Airways pointing figure at the family of the decease.
“What also makes me angry about that news on TV was that the Minister who spoke on behalf of the Samoa Airways Minister Lautafi did not understand what he was saying”.
“How do you feel is it was your son or grandson? Will you let the plane continue its flight? No, you can never do that. I’m a person who has asthma and I tell you there is no specific time for asthma to occur. It just happens. That was so disrespecting for the minister to just point out like that and blame the family straight away.”
It was not possible to get a comment from Minister Lautafi while Samoa Airways has declined to further discuss the incident.