Sad villager cries ‘injustice’

By Ilia L Likou ,

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DISAPPOINTED: Leoli Nofoali’i Tanuvasa.

DISAPPOINTED: Leoli Nofoali’i Tanuvasa.

The distribution of water tanks by the village mayor of Nofoali’i and his committee has angered one of the villagers.

Leoli Nofoali’i Tanuvasa, 57, told the Samoa Observer the distribution of water tanks should first prioritise families who don’t have water supply on the outer part of the village.

“And my family is one of those families,” Leoli said.

Leoli and his family moved to the outskirts of Nofoali’i in 2004.

“The truth is the village mayor is not following conditions on how to distribute water tanks.”

Leoli said when he heard about the project before the General Election, he requested the village mayor and his committee for a water tank.

“Because my family lived far away from the main village and it’s very difficult to find water especially during the dry season,” he said.

 “The former Member of Parliament told us before the General Election that the government is going to reward each village $50,000 to help in whatever development they’re looking at.”

Leoli said with $50,000 they couldn’t build a sea wall or school. 

That’s why the mayor and his committee decided to buy water tanks for families who don’t have constant water supply. 

“Then I waited patiently but my family and others here were turned down, because the distribution was mostly for those in the inner part of the village.”

He added before the distribution of water tanks on 25th September, the name of their family was not in the distribution list.

“Most of the families that the village mayor and his committee distributed water tanks to live in the coastal area (tai-le-‘a’ai).”

He said those families who received water tanks already had proper water supply.

Leoli describes the situation as an “injustice.”

“This is what happens to our country; we are not following what these funds are meant for. And if this is the money from the government with the hope to help us (don’t have water supply) as their first priority. But our village mayor and his committee are not doing justice."

“This is really sad and this is my right as a citizen of this country to raise my concerns.”

He said it was clear this would affect aid projects if such injustice continued.

“We must look into this, those foreign aid countries think that these funds are well spent for the wellbeing of vulnerable families here."

“But it’s not. This is something that the government needs to look into, whether we still need pulenu’u to allocate the distribution of water tanks and get involved in these sorts of projects.”

Contacted for a comment, village mayor, Ili Talailama, said he had no comments to make.  

However, Nofoali’i’s Member of Parliament, Ili Setefano Ta’ateo said: “I have no say in the distribution of water tanks because that belongs to the village mayor and his committee." 

“The only thing that I reminded them before the distribution of water tanks was to please take the tanks to families on the outer part of the village because they don’t have water supply."

“Whether they have tanks or not, each family needs to have two water tanks because most of them are relying on rain water and it takes one to two months before it rains."

“It is hard for them to fetch water from the inner side of the village because it is far away and most of them don’t have cars."

“If that is the case, something that the village mayor and his committee needs to look at is whether they are doing the right thing or not." 

Ili said the project was from the government through the Ministry of Natural Resources.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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