Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon


A Citizens' Committee Formed

A Citizens' Committee Formed.

But at that time we were more concerned in Samoa with getting ready for the promised visit of the Minister, and the three elected M.L.C.'s agreed that the best preliminary would be to convene a public meeting of citizens, where the matters to bring before the responsible Minister could be discussed openly and above board. An advertisement was inserted in the "Samoa Times," and the meeting was held on October 15, 1926. There were about 250 Europeans and Samoans present. Various problems were discussed at great length, and it was resolved that a Citizens' Committee be appointed consisting of the three elected M.L.C.'s. six Europeans (representing the merchants, traders and planters), and six Samoan Chiefs representing the Native interests.

That was the origin of the now famous Citizens' Committee, elected at a representative public meeting of 250 citizens which was convened by public notice, and carried through in a constitutional and orderly manner. The Citizens' Committee appointed then met and divided into sub-committees, which drew up reports on the following subjects:—Agriculture and Imported Labour; Finance; Medical; Legislative; Native Affairs; Prohibition.

At the first public meeting it was learned that the Minister had postponed his trip, and it was resolved that a radio be sent respectfully and urgently asking him to reconsider the postponement. This wire was sent through the Administrator's office on October 16th, and, no answer being forthcoming by October 27th, another radio was drafted, but not sent, as when it was handed in we were informed that a reply had been received to the first radio some days previous and had been promptly sent to my page 15 office, close by. To this day I have never received that radio, nor any explanation as to how it was "lost."

However, we learned that the Hon. Mr. Nosworthy had decided it "impossible" to visit us till the following May (nine months after we expected him, according to the promise given me in Wellington by the Prime Minister in the presence of Sir Maui Pomare and Mr. Nosworthy). That procrastination of the responsible Minister was, in my considered opinion, an irreparable blunder, and I fancy political history in New Zealand will view him as the Cabinet Minister who fiddled with wireless while Samoa was smouldering.

The Committee considered the position and decided to proceed with the reports of the sub-committees and place them before another public-meeting of citizens. This meeting was called for November 12, and the hall was crowded with 663 Europeans and Samoans. I was again appointed chairman, and before the meeting commenced Mr. McCarthy, the Crown Solicitor and Acting-Secretary to the Administrator, produced a letter from General Richardson which he wished to be read to the meeting and translated for the information of the Natives present.

This letter, was the beginning of the "Big Stick" policy which has grown more and more vicious, from the inception of the Citizens' Committee to the present policy of "Big Guns" to overawe the Mau. In his letter to the meeting, General Richardson expressed his strong disapproval of European and Samoan citizens meeting together to discuss public affairs of common interest, and suggested that it be discontinued. In spite of the veiled threat behind the request, and the presence of the police in the hall and outside, only seven persons withdrew from the meeting, and over 650 remained to hear and discuss the reports of the sub-committees which were submitted by the Citizens' Committee elected at the previous meeting.