The wait for construction of a new parliament house at Malae Tiafau is finally over.
After many delays, involving funding and tenders, the work is at last underway.
Workers from Craig Construction were at the site yesterday preparing the area for building.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Site Supervisor, Tofaeono Peter Savea said the workers are clearing the site so they can bring in building material.
The existing foundations will remain.
One cause for delays was that the project was tendered twice.
According to Tofaeono the first time it was tendered, Craig Construction won.
It was again re-tendered and this time, the company’s bid was successful.
“I believe that it was re-tendered because Cabinet did not like the first design,” he said.
“But the second time they reviewed it, they accepted it. …it will cost about more than $20million funded by Australia and our government.”
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi had recently discussed the project which Australia had offered to build as their gift for Samoa’s 50th Independence celebrations.
But Australia has since had changes in government making it very difficult to proceed.
One of the issues involved Australia cutting its foreign aid budget.
“It was later that I met with the Deputy Prime Minister (of Australia) and I reminded her about the project and she reassured me they would discuss it,” Tuilaepa said in a recent interview.
“I told them that in our culture, when a person gets a tattoo, it’s an embarrassment if they don’t finish it.”
Sometime after that, Tuilaepa said Australia committed the funds on the understanding that Samoa would also contribute to the project.
The former Parliament building was officially opened in 1972, a gift from the government of New Zealand.
It was demolished in August last year and construction work for the new building was supposed to have begun in November last year.