S.S.I.G. rejects split rumours
The Samoa Solidarity International Group’s (S.S.I.G.) President, Nonu Ueni Fonoti, has dismissed rumours that the group has disbanded, saying they could not be further from the truth.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer on Monday, Nonu said the core mission of the group remains unchanged: to advocate for the repeal of the Land Titles Registration Act 2008.
Nonu dispelled rumours of the group disbanding, saying it might have seemed that way due to their not making noise and protests recently.
But that, he said, was due to the group’s efforts nurturing their "baby" whom he said was the Samoa First Political Party (S.F.P.P).
S.F.P.P. has put forth six candidates for the 2021 General Election.
Nonu said the group has never disassembled and is in fact stronger than ever and holds weekly meetings with representatives from New Zealand, Australia, United States and also the United Kingdom.
"That’s why [people] haven't seen us protest against anything because we have been so busy nurturing this baby," he said.
"This is a non-profit organisation and we are active advocates against the L.T.R.A.
"Otherwise, there are those who leave because they have other responsibilities. Some people come and go, and that's their right."
Nonu explained that being a part of S.S.I.G does not make a person obliged to remain active in the group.
"Anybody goes and comes, that’s their freedom but this is an organisation and anyone who feels strongly about the cause can work with us," he said.
He also called out the disrespectful references made by the Prime Minister against the S.S.I.G. by reworking their acronym into the derisive saying: "sasa ia gā" (beat it until it stops).
As a part of S.S.I.G.’s petition against the law, the group filed in 2018 a $5 million lawsuit questioning the legality and unconstitutional changes made by the Act.
Despite many assurances from the leader of the country, the group insists that Samoa's customary land is under a threat.
The S.S.I.G. is continuing its campaign in court to void the L.T.R.A. and return customary land leases to their original and traditional state of ownership prior to 2008.
The S.S.I.G is also opposed to three Lands and Titles Court bills currently before Parliament which are aimed to make the Lands and Titles Court autonomous.