The Sasina Village Council is a living testimony the Customary Land Lease serves to allow for the betterment and development of families and the village.
This is according to Gagaemauga 3 Member of Parliament, Laauliolemalietoa Leuatea Fosi.
He made the statement during the ceremony where $250,000 was distributed among the village’s Church Ministers and the Village Council members yesterday.
The funds are a result of the lease agreement signed by the Village Council and new investor from China for the nonu juice development.
Held at Maota o Samoa, the ceremony was well attended by the Sasina Chiefs, untitled men and Church Ministers.
The lease, which was brokered by La’auli, is for a multimillion tala nonu juice investment.
“We saw the opportunity and of course we have long term plans to utilise our lands as we are the leading landowners in all of Samoa.
“We feel there are a lot of our lands that needs utilizing, so we have released some of our lands for leasing, for hotel development and also for commercial farming. That is why we leased 600 acres for hotel development and now the 500 acres for the nonu development.
“Today (yesterday) marks the second year of the lease for the nonu, and each year we receive $250,000 for 100 years.
“So you see the development of nonu farming will create more jobs for our people. And also this will assist Samoa’s economy,” he said.
“Our village is benefiting from the lease agreements and let me make this crystal clear that our lands are not mortgaged, it is leased.
“The investors are fully aware that if they want our land, they can lease it but it cannot be mortgaged because it belongs to Sasina.
“It is safe and a sure thing, I can guarantee this 200 percent,” said La’auli.
“The funds will be paid out to all the villages from young children all the way to the elderly where 10 percent of the lease funds will be distributed evenly to all the Church Ministers and the Congregation in Sasina.
“I hope that the successful Sasina land leases will be used as a role model to the initiative by Government to introduce the Alienation of Customary Land Amendment Bill 2017, saying it will set the pathway for future customary land leases and wipe away fears and speculations that customary lands are up for sale with the introduction of communal land lease,” said La’auli.
The M.P. says he is unclear and cannot recall the name of the Company they made the agreement.
During the ceremony, Sasina Chief, Leauna’i Uesele, announced the support by their village of the leasing of the customary lands for the nonu development, which in turn benefits the village.
Four Church Ministers received envelopes of $4,000 each. The media who attended also received envelopes of $100 from the Village Council.