I supported this protest recently and was extremely proud of those who stood up for this cause in Fagatogo. (http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/young-and-old-turn-out-protest-fono-pay-raises)
I believe that voicing our concerns is our right as local citizens of American Samoa, even if someone else repels from the goals and attempt of this protest.
It is unusual that our local residents didn’t have a group like this before to voice concerns about the financial problems within our island.But now, we do– with the very few local residents who believes in a better government, integrity and people’s needs first.
Although it took a while and several issues in the past to actuate a stand publicly, I am glad it turned out to be a successful event. What took place besides protesting was an outburst of enraged responses igniting out of leaders and those who did not support the protest against the “Pay Raise for Representatives,” in American Samoa. We are divided under that notion that no one has the right to speak up for their own right. Which is why this event would appeal as an uncanny event for most people.
This protest is for us– the people of American Samoa, and our voice. The problem is not protesting at all if you ask me. When we contest, we are speaking frankly about something that is not right or unconstitutional. We have that right to advocate. And no one has to stop us from doing whatever we choose to do- as long as our taxes are garnished for the betterment of our government.
The problem is greed. Another problem is the notion that most have had the tendency to contest that we, as the people, have no rights to even speak out about anything that affects us significantly. Perhaps, bullying people off their centered beliefs because someone is connected or somehow related to another. We can choose to remain neutral in various subjects, but battling integrity and doing what is right should be everyone’s agenda.
The agendas and current issues occurring in our territory affects everyone. It is wrong to silence people. People have rights to speak up about anything no matter what. We have the same right to speech, in the same manner we are subject to vote for representatives during elections. Our vote puts these leaders in the positions they are in now. Yet, to others, protesting is wrong.
It’s wrong to contest against someone who is speaking up for what is right. It is excruciating for people to segregate and oppose protests, but have no suggestions or solutions to the ongoing issues in our territory. You think they’re just on a Devondale or Fresh Milk fix here? I don’t know, but those who oppose protesting never gave a solution to any problems in the past and now.
Our government is already facing a lot of financial troubles. Yet, there is a possibility here with county representatives petitioning a pay raise during a time when this should be the last thing anyone should worry about. The focus should be on the needs within each county. The focus should be for our people. And when someone tries to shoo anyone down because they are speaking the truth, then the problem is not really about protesting. Exposure of greed and corruption is, and the people are finally speaking up about it.
With elections around the corner, I pray and hope everyone stays safe and continue to value respect and integrity among one another. Respect and love for one another; and a commitment to honesty and integrity always!
Follow United Citizens of American Samoa here: https://www.facebook.com/United-Citizens-of-American-Samoa-1548285772152567/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf