Mayor cautious about wharf

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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Village mayor: Papali’i Toiaivao A. Perez.

Village mayor: Papali’i Toiaivao A. Perez.

The village mayor of Vaigaga is cautious about the government’s plan to build an international wharf at Vaiusu Bay. 

Although Papali’i Toiaivao Amby Perez supports the government’s project, he has many questions that remain unanswered. 

The village of Vaigaga including Vaiusu and Vailoa area close to the sea will be affected in the proposed multimillion wharf.  

Papali’i confirmed he has attended several seminars discussing the wharf project but he is certain about the plan.

“There is still that question of what will happen to the families that are currently living there,” he told the Samoa Observer. 

“What will happen to them? Will the government allocate land for them to live on like those in Falelauniu? Is there enough land to relocate the families?

“There are so many questions that are unanswered and government should be consulting with the families that will be affected directly on what will happen to them. 

"If those families are to move inland on this side I don’t see any vacant land seeing that this area is overcrowded with businesses.”

According to Papali’i, despite what people feel, the government will go ahead with their plans. 

“The government is bigger than one person,” he said. 

“They do what they like so I don’t think objections from the people will stop their developments…our village has agreed to the project but I am not aware of those families living on that side whether they share the same views.”

There are more than 200 people living on the coastline of Vailoa, Vaiusu and Vaigaga. 

Last week an elderly matai from Vaiusu, Ulugia Aukuso shared his concerns about the government’s project. 

While he denied the government consulting the village over their plans, Ulugia pointed out the project will mean their source of income from the fish will be lost. 

“We want to protect our lagoons,” he said. 

“We are also thinking about the future of our children and those that have left us. 

"A lot of our villagers depend on seafood sales to help their families. It’s important we protect it. 

“We have to think not only about today but tomorrow on what will happen to our children and our reef. Our land is also our God given right and we value it.”

Prime  Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi had mentioned the project in Parliament on several occasions. 

Tuilaepa said the port is a critical development for Samoa in terms of trade. 

He said the Matautu Wharf was too small with no room to expand. 

Last week the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Selafi Purcell said the relocation of residents of Sogi has a connection to the wharf development in Vaiusu. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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