The proposed $10 million prison at Tanumalala is finally on the move with the groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for today.
This was confirmed by the Minister of Prisons, Ti’alavea Tionisio Hunt, in response questions from the Samoa Observer.
Ti’alavea declined to discuss the details and who has won the bid to build the facility.
“You will know tomorrow,” he told the Samoa Observer.
Last week, the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, who is also the chairman of the Tenders Board, said the delay was due to the Board requiring additional information from the bidder.
This now appears to have been sorted.
During a previous interview, the minister told the Samoa Observer the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new prison on 550 acres of land at Tanumalala was scheduled for May this year.
At the time, Tialavea said the project was made possible through a $10 million loan for construction from the Unit Trust of Samoa (U.T.O.S.) and had been approved by Cabinet.
“We have advertised the position for a project manager,” said Ti’alavea. “It is estimated that it will take about eight months to build."
“We are hoping that by the beginning of next year, we will be able to move from Tafa’igata to Tanumalala.”
Already, there is access to both water and electricity at the site, he said.
The new facility will hold shelter for about 600 to 700 people.
“This building will have separate holding cells for women inmates remanded in custody awaiting court proceedings.
The new facilities will also center on areas of reform and rehabilitation with workshops for the prisoners to learn trades and skills, not to mention a multi-purpose hall.”
“So that’s the plan for Tanumalala.”
Last month Assistant Commissioner of Prison and Correction Services, Ulugia Niuia Aumua, told the Samoa Observer the construction of the Tanumalala Prison will most likely be completed by July next year.
Ulugia said the delay in getting the project underway, was because they had been waiting for financial help from overseas.
That did not materialise, so that according to Ulugia, “the Government of Samoa has stepped up to fund the project."