The celebration of our independence every year is about living the dream our forebears yearned for while shackled under colonial rule.
Their struggles, resolve and vision made the dream a reality 57 years ago yesterday.
The celebrations returned to its rightful setting at the ‘Malae o Tiafau’, after an absence of a couple of years, to allow for the construction of a new Parliament House.
The hallowed ground at Mulinu’u is our independence birthright. Raising our flag of freedom in its proper setting, brought peace and calm once again to a longing heart.
Living the dream and keeping it alive are not the same. The former is about reaping the fruits of continuous toil, perseverance and wise leadership.
The latter is the engine room that drives our ship we have named Samoa. When the engine is running well it sails smooth even in rough weather.
After 57 years of sailing, we reflect on the past and look ahead to the course we have plotted in our on going journey into nationhood.
The best progress assessment we can take of where we are, is our proposed budget tabled in Parliament a few days ago, for the new financial year 2019/2020.
Spending just shy of $1 billion tala over the next 12 months is estimated with the priority still on education, health and infrastructure.
We have stayed this development course for quite a while now and the results are there for all to see and judge.
So far, we are not hearing any complaints strong enough to threaten the trust in the current administration, unless the murmur of dissent is on the low volume.
But we have a way of ferreting disharmony out in the open when we go to the election polls a year and a half from now.
There are, however, openly simmering political issues, likely to carry into the national vote.
The most notable is the sudden surge in aggressive rhetoric by the Samoan diaspora on national affairs here at home.
Access to modern communication technology has made it convenient for overseas based radicals, to assert their uninformed opinion at will with blatant disregard for consequences.
Debate over the influence of Chinese investors on the local business community and the national economy remains the more serious still to be settled.
Unfortunately, the pros and cons of the Chinese presence extend beyond our domestic boundaries into the region.
What makes it seriously frightening, is behind the furor and the threat of major conflict for member states, including Samoa, are the manipulating superpowers fanning the fire with self-serving agendas.
Out of the potentially volatile environment we find ourselves in, Samoa’s leadership has emerged as one to respect in the region.
Our forebears will be proud.
Samoa will host the Pacific Games in a few weeks for the third time. The sporting achievement is added credit to our leadership status, more so by stepping in on behalf of a fellow member and close neighbour, unable to carry out hosting duties.
The whole country has responded in support of the Games.
Watching the young school children perform the various dances of the region in the hot sun at Malae o Tiafau yesterday left a lump in the chest.
The entertainment gave us a quick peek into how much they have put into the effort to welcome our guests from the region.
The emotions will be running higher when the visiting contingents from the region arrive and be made to feel at home by the warmth of our childrens’ welcome.
This is regionalism at its fairy tale best. The Games are designed to foster the fellowship of member states in our Blue Pacific region and it will as it has always been.
An added bonus for us is encouraging in our children a sense of regionalism by making them appreciate the value of other island cultures with their new dancing and singing skills.
The children are our future and what we instill in them now, they will carry forward as we have done from our forebears who won us our sovereignty.
No journey is without obstacles to challenge our resilience. We have travelled close to 6 full decades as a nation and have had our fair share of trials and tribulations.
There are no easy roads in life with challenges at every step of the way.
We are living the dream our forefathers and mothers gave us. We are obligated to show our appreciation for the sacrifice they made by continuing to keep the dream alive.
Happy 57th Independence