It’s estimated more than a thousand people in Samoa this week turned out to register their interest in coming to Australia and New Zealand for seasonal work but the situation turned dangerous when the huge crowd surged inside the church building it was being held at.
Windows were smashed and it’s reported at least a dozen people were injured.
But the dramatic events point to the larger issue that’s facing Samoa — high unemployment rates because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seuleupe Michelle Macdonald, the President of Samoa’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry told Pacific Beat that the event was “concerning” and “unfortunate”.
She said Samoa’s tourism industry has been hard hit by State of Emergency conditions, which have been in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the measles crisis of late 2019.
“The sector that is the most vulnerable is definitely the tourism sector,” she said, with people aged 18-25 most affected.
“A large number of those individuals in the tourism sector were the ones to turn out and express their interest”.
She said the private sector wants unemployed people to be considered for registration rather than skilled workers.