P.M. Tuilaepa laments Gov't. lands use

The Government has been praised for returning land that was possessed during the German colonial administration back to the community.

The Vaimauga Sasa'e M.P. Sulamanaia Tauili'ili Tuivasa commended the Government during the Wednesday sitting of the Parliament. 

“As I've said before our constituency's lands are the only lands the Germans strived hard to get. Why? Because they are beautiful lands of plenty,” he said. I am thankful to the Government for returning the lands to the Village Councils.

"However there is one request to the Minister [overseeing] the Samoa Land Corporation to be [lenient] with the cost of the lands.

“The S.L.C. is also looking at leasing off lands in Letogo and Vailele, but the constituents continue working the land until the Government is ready to proceed with its projects.” 

In response, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said Minister Lautafi Selafi Purcell, who oversees the SLC as part of his ministerial portfolio, will outline the accuracy of the matters that the M.P. has raised.

Tuilaepa also addressed issues relating to Government land “given” to people to work on and refuse to leave when a project is ready to proceed.

“This is my biggest mistake,” said the Prime Minister, who then made reference to an elderly man who visited his office and asked for a parcel of land to plant his crops at Tuanaimato.

“I was compassionate and I made my decisions based on what I felt, rather than what I know, which was a lapse in judgement,” he added. 

“I agreed and not long after a Church Minister from the same area asked for a parcel of land to plant their crops, it was then I knew I made a mistake.

“The request was denied and this did not sit well with the Church Minister, he walked out [of my office] and when he reached the door, turned to me and said… if I take our young people and plant our crops anyway, will the [Government] stop me?

“I will not stop you, because you’re a Church Minister, however I will leave it to God to judge you.”

The Prime Minister said the old man, whom he did not identify, did not proceed with his plans.

But a similar situation occurred at Vaimauga Sasa'e where he said chiefs asked for a parcel of land for their crops but refused to leave when they were asked by the Government. 

“The [Chiefs] came seeking for a parcel for their crops and begged for a slot with the Samoa Trust Estate and Corporation lands. 

“And within a year the government was ready to proceed with their projects, but when asked to vacate the land, they refused. 

"This is why there are predicaments faced by the Samoa Land Corporation over land matters.”

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