Samoa PM Stands Firm on ‘Fake News’ Claim

Fiji Sun - - Pacific News -

Samoa’s Prime Min­is­ter is not back­ing down from his claim that con­cerns about the alien­ation of cus­tom­ary land are “fake news.”

The Samoa Ob­server re­ports Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Maliel­e­gaoi took it a step fur­ther, call­ing those wor­ries “garbage,” “stupid” and “fic­tion”. The prime min­is­ter says the fi­nal proof is that since 1962, no cus­tom­ary lands have been alien­ated.

Last week the Pres­i­dent of the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank made his first trip to Samoa with a num­ber of pro­test­ers present out­side his joint press con­fer­ence with the prime min­is­ter. Both the gov­ern­ment and the ADB have been crit­i­cised for pro­mot­ing the eco­nomic use of cus­tom­ary land and the cre­ation of a more struc­tured reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem of ti­tle.

This has cul­mi­nated with le­gal ac­tion against the Prime Min­is­ter Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Maliel­e­gaoi over the Gov­ern­ment’s Land Ti­tles Reg­is­tra­tion Act.

In a 2014 let­ter of com­plaint, a group of chiefs wrote that the ‘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’.

Prime Min­is­ter Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Maliel­e­gaoi.

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