L.T.C. strikes out new village council, church

The Lands and Titles Court (L.T.C.) has ruled to disestablish a new “village council” in Matautu Falelatai and to prevent the formation of a Samoa Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.) in the village. 

The plaintiffs in the matter are Nanai Fa’amanu Ivara, Lupematasila Talatonu, Misa Gogo, Asi Nusi and Salu Ma’afi and others while the respondents are Anae Misa Pita, Misa Tumusolia, Fa’asavalu Taisia, Salu Peni, Asi Sua and Nana Anae. 

The Court ruled that, while mindful of the freedom of religion afforded under the Constitution, the establishment of a new church would contravene rules limiting the number of churches in a village.

The judgement, issued last week, was endorsed by L.T.C. Vice President, Mulipola Iosefa Mulipola; Judges Tiatia Faleupolu Tevita, Leu Alani Uila, Tuloa Fetufou Aiono and Assessor Teo Uvalu Mauga. 

“The parties are ordered to meet prior to September 2020 to sort out the issues within the village, to assure there is prosperity, peace and everyone working together for the betterment of the village,” the ruling said. 

The ruling says that, in July this year, the President of the L.T.C. Fepulea’i Atilla Ropati issued an interim order to halt the establishment of the “new village” and the new church pending the matter before the court. 

The judgement indicated that $69,000 was spent by the church on traditional presentations when its leaders met the Village Council. 

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