You can still make things right

Dear Editor,

Re: Don’t be easily fooled

You know very well these changes to land ownership does not happen overnight. The negative impact of L.T.R.A. will only be fully understood many years from now, but you probably won’t be around to see it hence why you don’t care. It’s a slow trickling effect and more customary land issues will surface.

We all want progress and prosperity but not at the expense of our culture and customary lands. 

You sir and your government do not care about anyone else, you’re more concerned about leaving a legacy. But I’m telling you now that your government will be judged by history as the one who destroyed the Fa’asamoa by removing the pule and alienating the aiga from their customary land.

Are you really that naive to believe everything the greedy bankers are telling you? Land or asset to be claimed by foreigners will eventually happen maybe not right now but it will happen. 

When we struggle with our foreign debt, China will not restructure the loan repayments but want something more valuable. They’ll move in and take control of an asset or infrastructure that would be more beneficial to them. It’s already happening in other parts of the world.

There was concern raised by big international banks that Samoa is taking on too much debt and does not have the means or budget surplus as a buffer to absorb downturn in a financial crisis or natural disasters. Of course you knew that but you won’t be around to see it.

Now imagine Asau port or Tiave’a airport taken over by china on a 99 year lease to clear some of your H.R.P.P. government debt. Would you be ok with that? 

Oh you won’t be around to see that. 

Would you be ok if your family’s customary land was taken by your own government under taking of land act only to use a small portion and still keep the rest to register as public land? 

Oh you won’t be around to see that. 

Would you be ok knowing that the customary land owners lease can never access their land for almost a 100 years even when nothing has been done to it? Oh you won’t be around to see that. 

Would you be ok knowing that the money generated by these entities (port and airport) could be used to improve our health sector or education but instead siphoned off to overseas bank accounts? 

Oh you won’t be around to see that.

You’ve already given China fishing rights to our maritime economic zone which is the smallest in all of the Pacific nations. Our fish stocks are declining and our fisheries will struggle but of course you won’t be around to see that. 

We all know China craves a Pacific hub/base. You probably already know that and is one of your ultimate goals.

You know there are cracks appearing in L.T.R.A. and certain events have shed light on the true misleading nature of your H.R.P.P. government legislation. More recently we’ve seen evidence of what the L.T.R.A. is doing to customary lands. I am talking about the Return to Paradise Resort and Lefaga village customary land case. Where the ruling Judge revealed that L.T.C. and L.T.C.A. have no jurisdiction over the disputed customary land because the land is registered as public land.

Now you sir can not deny that is alienation of customary land. You sir have decided not to understand. You sir, regardless of how much we try to explain, you have remained ignorant no matter how much we tried. 

Now let’s say for arguments sake Sasina village was unhappy with their 120 year customary land lease with S.P.D.G. and were to go to Court because they signed contract for resort back in 2008 but 11 years later still nothing. 

What do you think will happen? 

Yes going by what happened to the Lefaga case we could say Sasina will lose customary land case because land is registered as public land and the ruling justice would put more emphasis on the investor because they have put large sums of money into disputed land.

I reckon if any customary land lease was taken to Court now the traditional landowners would find out they have no rights over their own lands because it is now public land.

I have an idea to end all dispute and suspicion over L.T.R.A., open up M.N.R.E. files to the public. Let us search and see the status of our customary lands giving us reassurances that L.T.R.A. does not have any hidden agendas. After all it is a government entity owned by the taxpayer.

How sad a lot of your fellow countrymen have lost respect for you because you’re arrogant and you talk to people in a condescending tone, but you can still make things right by repealing L.T.R.A. before you go.

“We want a government that will have human rights and environment in its agenda and that will cater to the people’s needs vs corporate agenda. We want leaders who will echo our voice, as we demand justice for the corruption and plunder of our lands.”

 

Soifua,

Oisole

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