I know that I have said this a little more subtly in my previous columns but I am not sure that it is being heard by the right people because nothing seems to be changing.
The Prime Minister of Samoa has again used his wide array of taunts in response to views that differ from his own.
While I would like to say that the media coverage here and overseas is completely unbiased and would never use a person’s words in the wrong context, this is not always reality.
For this reason it is of utmost importance that the Prime Minister and any other politician need to prepare ahead of time answers that can be used for questions that they think may be asked.
I understand that they are very busy people, but just having their personal assistants prepare a list of answers is not difficult and it could save them from being portrayed as a name calling know it all.
For example the Prime Minister was quoted as saying “I think these are very, very stupid comments. They can only come from a person who does not understand what the forum is doing.”
Obviously this was not the best way for the Prime Minister to respond to a question concerning the restructuring of the Pacific Islands Forum and comments made by the Executive Director Derek Brien.
By answering in this manner the Prime Minister has made himself appear arrogant and bordering on rude.
The whole purpose of politics is to get people to do what you want them to do without making them hate you.
Clearly we are not going to be able to please everyone, but by at least responding to questions in a civilized manner we are taking one step in the right direction.
For example rather than the above response the Prime Minister could have said “I do not agree with the comments and believe that they are based on misinformation regarding the role of the forum.”
Not only does it get the same message across, but it does not cause offence to anyone, because no one has had their opinions put down or made to appear foolish, even if that is what you would really like to say.
We never know when we may need the alliance with another person be it overseas or here in Samoa.
By speaking to others in a manner that is respectful yet gets your point across allows us to have our voice heard while also making sure that we do not burn bridges that may be beneficial for our country in the future.
It is like customer service if we want our customers to return we need to treat them with respect and dignity.
If we treat others as if they were not worth the shoes on their feet then they are not going to want to help us out in the future.
Samoa is a developing country and as such needs a lot of assistance. If our Prime Minister keeps speaking about others in such a manner there may be a chance that he will alienate the country which may end up being the reason why we are denied further assistance in the future.
This same adage could be applied to relationships with people within the country. As a leader it is also a responsibility to have our people work together harmoniously. If they are made to feel like their views do not matter it could cause division within the country also.
So we should all take my mother’s advice to think before you speak.