22 Oct 2012

Samoan village claim shows careful navigation needed

2:32 pm on 22 October 2012

A senior cabinet minister in Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, says the recent case of Satapuala village shows the careful navigation needed for Samoa's dual systems of government.

She told a conference on democracy in the Pacific any one of Samoa's MPs could have been in the same situation as MP Toesulusulu Cedric Schuster, in court for involvement in a road block in August over his village's land claims.

She says Samoans navigate their lives between custom and tradition and constitutional law on a daily basis.

"These sorts of situations is yet another opportunity for people like Toesulusulu and perhaps most of us. We will have conflicting situations arising from our respective places in a very deep and organic way as Samoans and our role and functions as members of parliament."

Fiame Naomi Mata'afa says other land issues are looming for the government particularly over the protection of water catchment areas.