12 May 2008

Samoa's PM challenged to debate over Land Titles Bill

10:15 am on 12 May 2008

In Samoa, a group opposing the Land Titles Registration Bill 2007 is challenging the Prime Minister, Attorney General and the Minister responsible for the bill to a public debate.

Its spokeswoman, Fesola'i Logoimatagi Toloa, said its wants the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to admit that the bill could affect customary land.

Tuilaepa has said on television the bill would only affect freehold land.

But Fesola'i said the prime minister should not deceive the country.

She said if the bill is passed the authority of matai over customary land will go straight to Government.

Fesolai said once the bill is passed people will rush to register customary land under their names which would enrich surveyors and lawyers.

She said their group wants a public debate on the bill with all media present.

The Samoa Observer says the group also wants to put the bill to a referendum.

Parliament has passed the Land Titles Registration Bill in first and second reading

The prime minister has denied deceiving the country over the bill.