Social media users lament demolition plan
Members of the public have taken to social media in a last ditch attempt to save the historical Apia Courthouse.
The building’s demolition contract has been awarded to local firm Schwartz Construction Limited for T$72,990 with work scheduled to begin on Monday, May 18.
The May 17, 2020 edition of the Sunday Samoan featured a picture of the old Apia Courthouse with hoardings and protective screens placed around the building to prepare it for demolition.
However, on Sunday morning the administrators of the Save the old Apia Courthouse Campaign Facebook page posted online expressing disappointment that Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA) is going ahead with the demolition.
“SIFA is illegally demolishing the Courthouse without waiting for the 28 days repeal process to end at the Puma Office. Due 1st week of June. Very disappointing that 1st we had Puma Office deliberately misplace our submission then this rush to demolish our landmark. We no longer have any rights in Samoa when it comes to preserving our heritage,” stated the post on Facebook.
A Facebook user called Tasi Jay Tagaloa W criticised the decision by SIFA, saying the Prime Minister did not want part of history that is associated with Samoa’s freedom fighters remembered.
“Why so eager to wipe out the old court house? PM never want Samoa to have any history to remembered the bloods of those warriors who fought for Samoa's freedom,” he posted.
Another Facebook user, Luneta Moors, said: “That’s disappointing to hear. It would have been nice to see that place preserved.”
Despite the condemnation, the demolition contractor has revealed that they intend to rebuild a replica of the original building.
Schwartz Construction Limited Managing Director, Alai’asa Schwartz Hunt, told Samoa Observer that they are not going to damage the building’s raw materials and intend to rebuild a replica of the original.
He said he plans to restore the building with a replica of the site with a view to possibly running it as a tourist enterprise.
“We have plans to relocate the building but we’re currently looking for land in town to do it. My dream is to rebuild a replica of the original building,” Alaiasa said.
“I want to return it to its former glory. We have plans to relocate the building but we’re currently looking for land in town to do it. My dream is to rebuild a replica of the original building. I want to return it to its former glory.”