Plans for Vaiusu wharf should proceed — M.P. Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi
The Samoa Government should proceed with its plans to build a multimillion tala wharf at Vaiusu Bay.
This was the call made by Member of Parliament for Faleata West Constituency, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, during Parliament this week.
But this did not sit well with Urban West M.P, Faumuina Wayne Fong, who questioned the Government as to when will they hold consultations with the people of Vaiusu on the proposed project.
During his speech in Parliament, Leala said the Government should not wait on this project.
“If we don’t act on the wharf now, the cost within the next five years will double if not triple. Now is the time to construct the wharf.
“Samoa very isolated from the Pacific and having a wharf this big is a testament to the world on our abilities for such a small country,” said Leala
However, Faumuina questioned when the Government intends to undertake a consultation exercise with the people.
Leala responded saying Vaiusu high chief, Ulugia Aukuso Simo, was appointed to sit on the infrastructure advisory committee, specifically for the wharf in Vaiusu.
“And if he (Ulugia) is not attending these meetings, that’s not my problem,” said Leala.
Faumuina put it to Leala that Vaiusu is awaiting word from the Government.
“I questioned this issue before in Parliament and the Prime Minister said the Government is trying to secure funding first and then they will proceed with the consultation.
“The Chiefs of our village are also mindful of what is going on, but now that Leala is no longer running from the Faleata district, he doesn’t care about the chiefs (under the new electoral laws pertaining to electoral boundaries, Vaiusu is no longer under Faleata West constituency, but Faleata II)."
The wharf in question will cost around $250 million tala and will be funded by the Chinese Government, said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.
“The talks about a wharf in Vaiusu to be funded by Chinese were initiated by the Samoa Government not the Chinese," he said.
Discussions to build the wharf at Vaiusu began during the time of Prime Minister Tupua Tamasese Lealofi between 1970-1973, added Tuilaepa. The Samoa Government at that time engaged a civil engineer to undertake an assessment of the proposed port development.
According to Tuilaepa, the Vaiusu Bay is 90 feet deep and the proposed project area is not vulnerable to high waves and underwater waves, which he said is unlike the Matautu Bay.
High Chief of Vaiusu, Ulugia had earlier told the Samoa Observer that the Government has not consulted with the village on the proposed project.