Customary land petition to be presented to Parliament

By Joyetter Luamanu ,

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RAISING AWARENESS: Member of Samoan Solidarity International Group, Unasa Iuni Sapolu.

RAISING AWARENESS: Member of Samoan Solidarity International Group, Unasa Iuni Sapolu.

Members of the Samoan Solidarity International Group (S.S.I.G.) will present a petition to Parliament when it commences on 23 January 2018. 

This was confirmed by S.S.I.G. member, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer. 

“We are appealing the same issue to repeal L.T.R.A. (Lands and Titles Torrens Act) 2008 due to danger of Torrens land System and history shows it wrecked indigenous land ownership in other countries,” she said. 

This follows the peaceful protest from Vaisigano to the Mulinu’u gravesite of the late Malietoa Tanumafili II, last month. 

“The march is to raise awareness ensuring customary lands are protected under existing laws,” said Unasa. 

During the march, Unasa continuously called out the current laws on customary land have claws of monetary interest.

“Many are not aware that their customary lands could be affected by the use of leases over their customary lands to secure loans and mortgages,” Unasa told the Samoa Observer. 

“I am telling you the ownership may shift to mortgagees or lenders under the terms of lending."

“We believe our customary lands are not safe and that a change to use customary land leases as securities for loans is a clear breach of our Constitution.” 

She also claimed the L.T.R.A. 2008 may also be associated with other issues, security for further $10 billion borrowings, from the government of China.  “You bet customary land is not safe,” she said. 

She says the S.S.I.G. is a group of patriots dedicated to protecting what belongs to the Samoan people. 

“The S.S.I.G. is meeting tonight (last night) to discuss a number of activities on this Saturday, then 23rd January here in Samoa, but also international projects too." 

“Tonight's (last night) meeting is online and S.S.I.G. Board members are spread around the world, including one in Samoa.” 

Unasa told the Samoa Observer that S.S.I.G. also has other projects for Samoa and they will start educational clinics in Savai’i. 

“We are starting small whereby anyone with questions on customary lands, legal rights, processes etc. may turn up." 

“It starts from 10am-2pm beside the wharf in Salelologa and we hope to expand to other villages and hope more lawyers may help out,” said Unasa.

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