Opposition says ban on villages from overseas work scheme harsh

Palusalue Fa’apo II accuses PM of trying to control the media.

Palusalue Fa’apo II

Lagi Keresoma

APIA: MONDAY 07 OCTOBER 2013: To slap a ban on whole villages from work overseas because of the conduct of a few was harsh and unfair of Government.

“They can’t stop opportunities meant for everyone,” said Opposition leader Palusalue Fa’apo II.

From the start however Government imposed a zero tolerance rule against bad and illegal acts by workers sent overseas under the Regional Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme.

Offenders were sent home and banned from future jobs under RSE.

Government took punishment a step further recently and banned two sub-villages and five villages from the scheme as a result of bad behaviour overseas by their residents.

The list of offences include quitting employers without notice, rape, indecency, affairs with fellow workers and running off to live with families.

“Enough is enough,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said.

Our workers are rated the best in the region but some “idiots” have degraded Samoa’s image, said Tuilaepa.

To minimise this Government slapped a four-year ban on two villages and a two- year ban on five other villages from which offenders originated from.

Unless a heavier penalty is imposed, people will continue to take advantage of such opportunities, the Prime Minister said.

He said the banned villages should consider punishing the offenders.

While in New Zealand recently he heard of a Samoan standing trial for rape there.

He later found out the alleged rapist was in New Zealand under RSE.

Those banned are two sub villages of Lefaga, Siumu, Tafua, Vailele, Solosolo and Letogo.