A man with a simple mission

Dear Editor

Re: Where are lawyers, judges?

I am a man who steps up to speak each day because I have a simple mission.

I must do all that I can with what I have to save the land and people of Samoa from exploitation.

There may be no cavalry and no promise of success but my heart cannot bear the thought that the values of our ancestors in this promised land of Samoa will be lost to those who would sell away the freedom of our people.

A few know the truth; more know who will not resist.

I am one together we are Samoa.

We have passion for the Christian message but where is the passion for our ancestors for this sacred land and its unborn.

What of God’s children selling things in the streets to live, the sick and the hungry, our old being cheated of their lands and their honour sold away from them shamelessly as if they were homeless and unloved not as they truly are the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

The Asian Development Bank and the Human Rights Protection

Party have agreed together and promised the people of Samoa that the HRPP will take ownership of all land registered under the Land Titles Registration Act 2008, extinguishing any Aiga land rights and granting any of those who do register their land a lesser freehold title, which can be taxed by the government at will. Those freehold owners must obey any HRPP direction on how they can use their land or surrender it if asked.

At the ADB’s 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Hawaii in 2001

A statement, signed by 50 non-governmental and people’s organizations from throughout the Asia Pacific region, read in part:

“The Asian Development Bank...is an institution that is now widely recognized as having imposed tremendous sufferings on the peoples

of the Asia-Pacific. In the name of development, its projects and programs have destroyed the livelihoods of people, brought about the disintegration of local and indigenous communities, promoted the sharp rise of inequality, deepened poverty, and destabilized the environment.

We, representatives of peoples, communities, and organizations throughout the region, have had enough of this destruction in the name of development. We have had enough of an arrogant institution that is one of the most non-transparent, undemocratic, and unaccountable organizations in existence.

The people of the region want the ADB out of their lives...and yield the space for others to promote alternative strategies of development that truly serve the people’s interests.”

Strangely the goals of the Asian Development Bank and the HRPP to mobilise and securitize (enable buying and selling and borrowing money against) customary land were proceeded with without public

consultation or support and carried out in an unlawful way i.e. by the HRPP passing the Land Titles Registration Act 2008 in spite of its failure to comply with the necessary steps in law for changing land ownership as required by Articles 102 and 109 of The Constitution

of the Independent State of Samoa which required a public referendum before any interest in customary land could be sold, mortgaged or taken to repay debt.

In 2004 the ADB stated that there were no social issues or concerns in mobilizing and securitizing customary land. The fact that customary land would cease to exist and ownership of all land would pass

to the State depriving all Samoans of their ancestral land without their

consent was seen as a non-issue by the ADB.

The ADB believed that the process of mobilizing and securitizing customary land would involve extensive consultations and participation. Results were to be widely disseminated as part of a

comprehensive publicity strategy to ensure broad-based support during reform.

The HRPP Government committed to converting customary land into a system whereby that customary land could be freely sold or used as security to guarantee loans without the consent of its citizens.

The role of the HRPP in its theft of ancestral title from all Samoans through an unlawful taking of sovereignty without the consent of customary land interest titleholders can be summed up in one word: corrupt.

The role of the ADB in turning a blind eye to the social upheaval and theft of customary land while funding such unlawful action can be summed up in one word: genocidal.


Maua Faleauto

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