The real issue

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Re: Truth, customary land and referendum

The name “Alienation of Customary Land” is from the 1965 law - the Alienation of Customary Land Act 1965. The law allowed leases on customary lands and it set out the processes by which leasing could be done.

For crying out loud, leases on customary lands are not a new thing. 

They have been around legally since 1965 and in colonial legislation before that. “Alienation” is simply a legal term which means that the owners do not have use of that land for a certain period of time. 

Permanent alienation is what happens when freehold lands are sold (use and ownership change hands). Temporary alienation is what happens with leases (use changes hands but ownership remains with the owners of the land).

These are not hard concepts to understand.

The critics of the L.T.R.A. 2008 have now turned their arguments towards opposing all leases on customary lands. Who the hell are they to oppose leasing on everyone else’s lands? 

Who elected them to speak for everyone? 

These leases have been around since 1965. Where was S.S.I.G. and others opposing the leasing of customary land back in the 1980s and 1970s? 

For their information, many families in Samoa have made a lot of money to develop themselves because of these leases. The economy has also been developed in part due to leases.

If people don’t want to lease, then fine, don’t lease their land. 

However, where the likes of S.S.I.G. and others are heading with their arguments is that they want to see leasing stopped altogether.

I say again, a lot of these arguments against leasing are put forward by people who don’t even live on customary lands. They have long ago moved to Apia or overseas.

If they want a law to stop leasing, then I want a law which forces them to return to live on their customary lands and put their money where their mouths are. 

Go and develop your lands; put money into your family lands instead of living the good life on freehold lands in Apia and overseas. 

Let’s see how far you get without leasing.

 

Petelo Suaniu

© Samoa Observer 2016

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