18 Apr 2008

Samoa parliament passes second stage of controversial lands bill

9:56 am on 18 April 2008

The Samoa Parliament has passed the second reading of a lands amendment bill

which will authorize the legal sale of state lands to several villages whose people

are residing on government lands under a lease agreement with the Samoa Land

Corporation or SLC.

The bill also aims at putting the ownership of the lands involved under customary authority that involves the traditional matai system and not a freehold.

This means the villages cannot sell it but keep the lands for future generations.

However families of Vaitele tai village who are residing on a lease of 29

acres of state land are rejecting the move.

A village matai, Toi Ioane Ilalio, says the government should consider that all his village lands had been unlawfully sold to the Germans during the colonial administration and therefore the land should be given to them without paying 15 thousand US Dollars per quarter acre.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment who is the chairman of the

government lands committee, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, will meet with a village

delegation next week to further discuss the issue.