Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi is not backing down from his claim that concerns about the alienation of customary lands in Samoa are “fake news.”
In fact, he took it a step further yesterday, calling them “garbage,” “stupid” and “fiction.”
“The concerns are fake,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa insisted during his weekly media conference at his Office.
“The final proof of what we say is that since 1962, none of the customary lands have been alienated. With that, what more can you say? All that has been said is all garbage.”
This week, the President of the Asian Development Bank, Takehiko Nakao, made his first trip to Samoa. During the President’s visit, he was met with protestors twice, calling for Samoan land to be protected from alienation.
Concerns over the A.D.B’s Promoting Economic Use of Customary Land project and subsequent AgriBusiness Support Project look generations ahead.
In the 2014 complaint lodged by a group of chiefs against A.D.B., this is laid out clearly.
“Leasing of land to outsiders for long durations - as would be necessary to secure a mortgage - comes perilously close to land alienation, forbidden by our customary laws as well as the Constitution of Samoa,” it reads.
“Vesting unfettered power to enter into long-term lease agreements to be used as collateral in a single aiga member with authority, the matai or sa’o, in a manner that bypasses traditional consultative and consensus-seeking processes is tantamount to alienation of customary lands. This is the hidden danger.”
But Tuilaepa remains unconcerned.
He said Samoa has been protecting the land up until now and will continue to do so in the future, calling the concerns “presuming,” and “stupid.”
Those who continue to fear land alienation despite his assertions, the Prime Minister believes are choosing to remain ignorant to the facts.
“They have decided not to understand,” Tuilaepa said.
“There are people, regardless of how much you explain, they decided to remain ignorant no matter how much you try.
“All they want is to push on with their stupid arguments. The facts are there, and all they talk about is unknown things in the future. It’s all fiction.”