Vile crimes, shocking deaths and sadness in Samoa today

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

For such a small country, the amount of deaths reported by the Police on a weekly basis – including crime-related deaths - is quite high. It’s disturbing. 

So much so you cannot help but ask the question; what is happening in Samoa today? You see gone are the days where these incidents were a rarity. Go back say twenty years ago, a suspicious death would probably come around once every three months, sometimes much longer. 

Ten years ago, it became a bit more regular but still probably once a month. 

But not any more. In the recent past, we’ve seen a terrifying increase in the number of vile crimes, which truly puzzles the mind. Why has this happened? How did we get to where we are today in Samoa? And is there a solution? Can we turn things around?

The Police’s weekly media report this week is scary; it is evidence of the concern we are raising today. Let’s have a quick look. 

The first item on the report says that on 16 October 2018 at around 6pm, the Police was informed by the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital about a dead body from Solosolo.

“Circumstances reveals that the deceased left his house for the plantation on Monday October 15, 2018 around 1:00 pm and did not return thereafter,” the report reads. 

“The village members and the deceased family searched for him but could not find him. On Tuesday morning 16 October 2018, the search continued and the deceased body was found in the east side of the Solosolo River.” 

“Due to visible signs of injuries on the deceased man’s body a postmortem is schedule to confirm the cause of death.”

On the other side of Upolu during the same week, another dead body was reported to the Police. This time the body was that of a 32-year-old male from Vailoa Faleata and Aleisa.

“Preliminary investigation indicates that the deceased and his brother in law were drinking alcohol on Saturday night. Sometimes during the night the deceased and the defendant got into an argument,” the Police report reads. 

“As a result of the argument the deceased was assaulted and he fell. The attending doctor confirms visible injuries on his head.” 

The Police say a male of Matautu Lefaga has been charged with murder.

Now perhaps the biggest shock of the week – and possibly the saddest - has come with the last item on the Police report confirming the death of the Chief Executive Officer of the Unit Trust of Samoa, Sa’u Justina Sa’u-Lam.

Found dead on Sunday morning, the Police are investigating how she died. The statement says the Police are not ruling out foul play.

The unexpected death of Sa’u comes as a massive shock to this country. She was a shining star in the corporate world, the woman who had been the driving force behind what is arguably one of the Government’s most profitable arms, U.T.O.S. 

But she was more than that. Away from her role at U.T.O.S, she was a mother who was known for always being positive and willing to contribute to the improvement of others. She also held many different roles in the community including key roles in the Marist Education system. 

There is absolutely no doubt that Samoa has lost a great leader.

Today, it is undeniable that these are clearly very sad and distressing times for all the families involved in the matters highlighted above.

The concern is that we continue to see these incidents happening week in and week out. Alcohol, violence and anger are always and often factors. Why are people so angry in Samoa today? Why has it become so much easier for one Samoan to kill another? 

We need to ask some tough questions of ourselves. 

See, our leaders talk so much about progress on these shores; the high rises in Apia, the flashlights and what have you. 

Looking at what’s happening today, can we honestly look ourselves in the mirror and call it progress? 

Let us be reminded that people are dying from crime-related incidents just about every day; our crime statistics have shot through the roof. In some cases, it’s almost like people are not scared to commit crime. We have men who bash up their wives and stab them in public as if it’s no big deal? 

Rape, incest and sexual crimes have become so commonplace? 

When you scratch a bit deeper, you will also find that deep beneath the façade there is a huge sense of sadness and bitterness. There is a lot to be said about the poor standard of living among some people, there is poverty, hardship, deteriorating state of morals, values and the slow death of our culture. 

This is not progress. Far from it.

The signs are there, that there is something terribly amiss, in the make up of this country today. Where do we go from here? What can we do? 

Write and share your thoughts with us!

Have a safe Wednesday Samoa, God bless!

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