Government must step in and look for ways to address illegal drugs use in villages like Faleatiu and neighbours.
Respected cultural authority, Maulolo Tavita, made the call in response to the police raid last week on marijuana plantations close to the Faleolo International Airport at Faleatiu village.
“I am hearing that there are outsiders who are involved and not just the village, so that means it is no longer a Faleatiu issue but a national one,” Maulolo suggested.
His suggestion is for the Ministry of Women and Social Development, Police and Agriculture to all work together.
Church leaders should also be brought to take advantage of their influence in the villages.
“ Government must also come up with new income generating activities to replace loss of income from illegal drugs in these villages,” Maulolo recommended.
As an authority in the culture, he worries that it is difficult for the respect of customs and traditions to work if leadership judgment is impaired by the influence of drugs.
Maulolo believes this is where the combined influence of the Government and the Church must be brought in.
“The Ministry of Police cannot solve this problem on its own, people who are arrested and sent to prison will return to illegal drugs after they have served out their time.
“The Ministry of Women and its links to the villages must try to come up with new solutions that will work with the local leadership.
“The role of the Church is for the Rev. Ministers to take the Word to where it is needed to solve the problem.
“ It is not enough to preach inside the church because illegal drug users and dealers do not come to church.”
Maulolo reminded that there are two forms of rule in Samoa, the chiefs and orators in each villages and the national Government.
He felt that once the traditional village authority has gone rebel it is time to look for solutions from outside.
“The wellbeing of the general public is at risk and this makes it a national rather than a village issue.
“Chiefs and orators in any village knows what goes on inside the community and if they are now into marijuana as users or dealers or both, then we have serious problems.”
Maulolo is aware the villages know what is going on and warned that if they are turning to illegal drugs to earn incomes then that should be countered.
He suggested new income generating options to be created for people in the villages to turn to that are legal.
Illegal drugs are fast money and Maulolo is adamant that unless there are legal options to earn some income for the villages, they will be happy to continue where they are.