23 Jan 2012

Gift giving ceremonies seen as prompting Samoans to steal

6:14 pm on 23 January 2012

The vice president of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce says the traditional gift giving mentality is compelling some workers to steal from their employers.

A business owner in Apia recently fired seven employees for stealing, and described it as a disease which stemmed from the pressure to give generously at Fa'alavelaves, which are gift giving ceremonies.

The Chamber of Commerce's Papalii Grant Percival, says people often give gifts during church gatherings that they can't afford.

He says it's a manifestation of Samoan pride.

"It's very very difficult to stop because people want to be known to have done it, even if it hurts, that's another problem too with the church because the church sort of demands that it hurts for it to be a worthwhile giving. If you look at our stock of beef, 70 percent of breeding stock is killed for Fa'alavelaves, 70 percent."

Papalii Grant Percival believes change has to come from the church and community itself.