Questions about customary land plan

Dear Editor,

In response to the Prime Minister’s comments about customary land, I want to highlight the following points:

“But you were lying around not working the land that had overgrown invasive grass on it while other people wanted to work in it,” Tuilaepa said.

Any grass growing on any land, they aren’t invasive, they are perfectly in their environment, that’s where grass grow, on land.

“I want to say this again that there can be and will be no alienation of customary lands as specifically required by the Constitution,” assured Tuilaepa.”

“no alienation of customary lands as specifically required by the Constitution”

 This is the only true part of the statement made by the PM” 

But the first and the last part of the statement “I want to say this again, that there can be and will be, assured Tuilaepa,” cannot be trusted.

“The rights of matai over the lands remain and it is up to them whether to lease customary lands or not but the truth is there are not enough developments conducted on customary lands like hotels, factories and other businesses.”

Family plantations are also developments, they don’t have to be hotels, factories, or business to call them development. Family will eat and sell to get money.

“The cause of all this is due to our people writing to relatives overseas for money. Our families overseas also have their obligations and doing down payments that we don’t know about. That is why I’m saying we are living on undeveloped lands and yet continue to ask those overseas for money.”

A few years back, our Honourable PM went to Australia and urged the Samoan communities there to send money home, send money home to their families in Samoa. But here again our PM criticizing the same thing that he does, and speaks against what he himself would do.

Now do you think our PM will not turn around and criticize the matai that will hold on to ownership of his land from being taken? 

And if the land will be under the name of the matai who will register the land, what would happen if that matai dies? Would ownership be transferred to a new matai with a different name? Or the government will take over since there is no more land owner?

For those matais who lease their land, will you be alive by the time the lease runs out to see the truth of what the government is telling you now? How will your children and grandchildren feel at that time? 

If the government keeps changing the Constitution to fit their needs, will they not modify it again to make us another Hawai’i? Think about it.


Galufatio’o Tautuailevao

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