Time to seriously consider concerns about hard labour on Sundays

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

The gripe from certain sectors of the community about companies carrying out heavy labour work on Sunday is not new.  

The topic has been heavily debated before and it will continue to be so as long as nothing is done to appease these concerns. 

The Tautua Samoa Party made the issue one of their campaign policies promising to stop foreign contractors from working on Sundays.

At the time, former opposition leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II, promised to restore the respect Samoa once had for Sundays. 

 “It must be so difficult for the churches to perform its role when they see that the government doesn’t care about Sundays,” Palusalue said. 

“They are allowing contractors to work on Sundays, disrespecting Samoans and our Christian beliefs.”

Palusalue said Samoa needs to go back to the path “that our forefathers set for us” and that involves respecting God and teaching foreigners to respect Samoa’s day of worship.

 “Sunday is a day of worship,” he said. “Any government must work with the churches to make sure Samoa is a God fearing country.

 “Some people have put money and contractual obligations before what is most important. They are ignoring what’s most important to Samoa, which is our foundation and Christian beliefs.

 “As a country that is founded on Christian values, I am worried that our people are going to work on Sunday and not attending church. 

“I am not talking about the shops and other services that our people need on Sundays. I am talking about contractors who do work that disturb the peace on Sunday.”

That was a few years ago. 

Today, nothing has been done and foreign contractors have continued to carry out their heavy labour work on Sunday.

Last week, an unhappy mother, Tuilaepa Soiamoa Grey, revived the debate, questioning the legality of the recent amendment to the Constitution to allow Samoa to be declared a Christian State. 

Tuilaepa accused the government leaders of being hypocritical and urged Samoans to wake up to what is happening.

“As a Christian country, our day of worship is on Sunday,” she said. “I have nothing against the government’s decision to make Samoa a Christian state. I fully support it.

“But what I find contradictory and hypocritical is when the government changes the Constitution and yet allows foreigners to disrespect our day or worship by continuing to do hard labour of Sundays.”

Tuilaepa said something must be done to put a stop to this.

“It’s really disturbing that I cannot have a peaceful Sunday when these Asians are doing hard labor work,” she said. 

“What is the robustness of the Samoa Constitution when it comes to these Asians who are conducting heavy labor work on Sundays? 

 “What’s more annoying is that their actions are a clear indication they have no respect for the laws of the land. Samoans they take the day off, they attend church and if you don’t go to church, you still cannot do such heavy work on Sundays. 

“There are six days they can do their work but at least spare us the Sunday so we can worship peacefully.”

The concerned citizen noted that Parliament should have made a note about this when they amended the Constitution. 

She added that perhaps it’s time for the government to forbid any labour work on Sunday.

 “Again it goes back to when the government moved to legalizing that Samoa is a Christian state. Why is it that we are a Christian country, yet there are people who work hard labor on Sundays? These Asians clearly have no respect for our traditions. 

“Each and every Samoan knows that we don’t do any hard labor work, what makes them any different? They are visitors to our country, whether they are citizens or not, they should respect our traditions.”

Well Tuilaepa Mary has a legitimate point.

Although the foreign business Tuilaepa is accusing here has vehemently denied her claims, its worth noting that other foreign-owned contractors continue to work on Sunday.

The fact that the issue continues to surface means that there are people in the community who are deeply concerned about it. 

Their opinions matter and they must not be ignored. 

Samoa after is now a Christian state, and if it’s the Christian thing to do to go church on Sunday and respect it as a day of rest, why then is the government allowing these foreign contractors to disrespect our people?

What do you think? 

Write and share your thoughts with us!

Have a fabulous week Samoa, God bless!

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