Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Abolish the Commerce Commission

The 'aiga buses and taxi cabs, the greatest examples of capitalism mainly exercised by Samoans, have been under attack not by the Palagi or the Asian but by other Samoans for a very long time. More specifically, they are Samoans on the Commerce Commission and in the ASG. Their price controls and other recent mandates, such as a mandatory uniform color, amount to nothing less than Samoan on Samoan crime.

As Senate President Moliga has finally realized with the effects of freight costs on grocery prices in Manu'a, costs do exist and do matter. While gas and maintenance costs have soared, our bureaucrats and politicians have told our Samoan entrepreneurs that they cannot recoup such expenses through the fares they charge for the services they provide. To add insult to injury, they have dreamed up new mandates that will only put a heavier load on the backs of already broke operators and owners of 'aiga buses and taxi cabs.

Fare increases will do more than just cover current costs; they will open the door to other possibilities. Right now, how can we expect these Samoan entrepreneurs to invest in better and more efficient vehicles or designs, when none of them can charge a rate that can make that happen? Or how about air-conditioned buses or fare meters in taxis? How can we expect this particular industry to advance when our government demands that they suck up the costs and carry the burden for everybody else? If this is our government's stance, then the quality of our public transportation will be the same or worse 20 years from now while the rest of world has left us behind.

From the way things are going, it appears the Commerce Commission and many others in the ASG seem to only want one thing, and that is to one day make public transportation a government monopoly. It'll be one where local and federal taxpayers pay the "fare" while our bureaucrats get "well" in a new ASG department riddled with corruption and nepotism.

It is about time we, Samoans who care and are not part of the system, to stand up for the rights of our brothers and sisters who are making an honest living driving buses and taxi cabs. They exist, they have bills to pay, and they have children to feed and send to school.

This is their living, this is their pursuit of happiness, and it is their individual right to charge whatever they please.


At 1:10 AM , Anonymous dt said...

A Whole New Day!

We are living in a new day as Samoans? Gone are the days of unquestionable loyalty? Gone are the days when it was common knowledge that the Chief of the village was the servant of the village? Gone are the days when villagers and leaders where desirous for and united in the well being and order of the community? Where ones self interest were not merely an urge to suppress, but not part of the thought process.

Not to say that the shell of our great society does not exist or even that there are not exceptions to what is commonly practiced. But we must understand that it is a whole new day. To use a common cliché, before we can know where we must go, we must understand were we come from.

After thousands of years we are a society that with in a few generations has had to learn a whole new rule book. Not to give an excuse for our behavior but more an understanding of the difficulties that comes when trying to adapting from one culture to another in a relatively short period of time.

Those in America for an example, when posed with a policy or law in which they don’t agree with, will educate, organize and protest. As with our people here in Samoa, many of these behaviors agents our leaders are thought of as unbecoming and disrespectful. Thus we can see the unchecked results of our leadership here in Samoa can lead to some very foolish policies that ultimately hurt their own. This of course is not exclusive to our leaders but for all who are in a position of responsibility.

It would be safe to assume that many of our leaders exploit the very thing that sets us apart as Samoans. This is a sad reality that we must deal with as a people. However do we really want to forfeit the grounding and satisfaction that comes with our way of life?
The fine line we must walk as we move forward is straddled between our identity and the new rules of engagements. The obvious and most simple solution is for our leaders to reexamine their motives. Unfortunately this scenario is unlikely to happen with out the help from the common man.

In assisting our people through this transition, we need to proceed the way our ancestors once did, with wisdom, patents and love.


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