I was quite astonished when reading how the local media quickly turned the sharp tip of the arrow at the lawmakers, blaming them for the abuse and misuse of the stimulus funds awarded by the Executive to the Legislature and Judiciary Branches. It was clear that the Governor shared the funds with the other two branches of our local government to help out with their operations in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Consequently, the decision was orchestrated under subtle terms as the Chief Executive pointed out that the Fono and Judiciary were not getting any assistance from the Stimulus. All other entities of the Executive Branch received a fair share, up to the millions by some.
So, what is the big fuss about the Good Samaritan spirit of the Executive, by giving out a nominal percentage of the pie to the other two Branches? Such a motive not only is indicative of a mutual and genuine relationship between the three distinct branches of our government, but also mirrors the typical Samoan traditional way of sharing and helping out to our neighbors.
I was predominantly appalled to learn that the local media quickly beleaguered the Fono leaders and lawmakers that such funds should have directed to pay for other activities rather than directly awarded to the individuals for improvements of their offices. Why has the media quickly blamed the Fono members, while silent on the portion given to the Judiciary, I asked? After all, the favor was initiated from the Governor’s Office? The Legislature and Judiciary were the recipients and why should they reject such generous offer as long as it meets the specifications authorized under the COVID-19 Stimulus?
I believe that the media intentionally targeted the Lawmakers to smear their integrity, especially when the election is around the corner. This is absurd and incredibly pathetic. If the media blasts the Fono, then why not also say something contrary to how the Judiciary branch spends its share given by the Executive at the same time?
Indeed, I appreciate ethical and sound journalism if reports on fair and factual events. I am not too fond of the unorthodox journalism that attempts to mislead the public by targeting to smear the integrity and reputation of significant others. We all know that the Stimulus funds is a blessing to all Americans to counter the disease and promote the economy. Perhaps every single family received such a blessing one way or the other, including the protesters.
For those who object and support the media, supposing the Governor gives you $10,000 or $20,000 from the Stimulus to improve your bedroom and buy new furniture. Are you going to vouch that such money be should be returned to build our hospitals and schools, or other infrastructure instead? I honestly believe no one dares to come up and protest but thank God for the one time opportunity given.
Anyhow, what is the big hassle about the Executive sharing the Stimulus monies with the other two Branches of our Government for improvement purposes? In all fairness, the media should balance its reporting of the story, rather than insinuating.
Fanuatele Dr. Toafa Vaiaga’e, PhD