Reader Interactions


  1. Dennis,

    I appreciate your opinions always. I can provide you with the proof to substantiate claims made in my letter below.

    I wrote this reply to the PM’s laughter:

    Thanks to the P.M. for his kind invitation

    The Mau March on 16 December 2017 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Vaisigano Bridge is to remember our fallen Mau leaders, such as Lauaki Namulauulu Mamoe, and their families and is intended to be a yearly event. All of the public are invited to attend.

    Samoa Solidarity International Group(SSIG) was founded by a small group of Samoans based in Samoa, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, to raise awareness around issues affecting Samoan people.

    Apart from celebrating the lives of our Mau heroes, the march draws attention to two issues destroying the lives of the people of Samoa – corruption and the alienation of customary land rights of Aiga in breach of the Constitution.

    Corruption has led to the growth of a political class, which feasts while the majority suffer. Those who profit have no complaints and fight tooth and nail to protect their criminal enterprise.
    Yet corruption destroys the lives of the people within a nation. Financial resources intended for infrastructure, healthcare and education are diverted so that a few can enjoy luxuries.

    The corruption of Samoa’s HRPP government removes any possibility of impartial justice for all as required by Samoa’s Constitution.

    Those who profit see themselves as above the law. They pass the proceeds of their crime on to their children and it is in their interests to suppress Democracy and the proper sharing of community resources to benefit all.

    As to the alienation of customary land from Aiga, in January of 1998, at the very beginning of Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s first term, the Asian Development Bank published a report saying they were dissatisfied with the amount of borrowing and lending going on in Samoa.

    The ADB threatened the government, saying that they would stop lending money to the financial sector unless Samoa agreed to two conditions:

    1) privatize the state-owned enterprises, and

    2) pass laws allowing mortgages against customary land.

    If Samoa agreed to do this, the ADB offered to lend US$7.5 million to the financial sector and to provide another US$1.0 million in technical assistance and legal advice.

    In 2000, the ADB lent US$3.5 million under Project Number 33167 to the financial sector. In exchange, the government agreed to privatize the state-owned enterprises, to create a land registry, and to allow mortgages against customary land.
    Who in the government agreed to this?

    At that time, the ADB said (and continues to say) that they had commitment from the “highest level,” which can only mean Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

    Key government officials on the project were Ms.Hinauri Petana, Financial Secretary for the Treasury Department;

    Mr.Papali’I Scanlan, Governor of the Central Bank, and

    Mr.Falani Chan Tung, Secretary of the Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry.

    Neither the parliament nor the Samoan people were asked to help decide about these radical changes to customary land law. So there was no consultation at all and consultation cannot happen after the unlawful agreement was made.

    The 2008 Land Titles Registration Act and 2013 Customary Land Advisory Commission Act were written by ADB consultants, and paid with ADB grant money.

    The initial ADB deal provided the government US$500,000 worth of legal advice. This wasn’t generosity: these lawyers were hired to rewrite the Samoan constitution so that foreign investors could finally access Samoan land.

    The lawyers instructions were to create the land titles registry, and “legislative amendments promulgated as necessary” to “free up customary land for commercial activities in a designated area or areas…. [and to] undertake a comprehensive review of the law pertaining to land, including but not necessarily limited to the various legal impediments preventing the movement of land, particularly customary land, to higher economic uses.”

    Even back in 2002, the ADB consultants knew the Samoan people wouldn’t want this.

    “Resistance to changes related to the economic use of customary land is expected”, they wrote. But they didn’t care, writing that there was “sufficient will to implement the proposed legal and regulatory changes.”

    In other words, that Prime Minister Tuilaepa would push the law through parliament.

    We the people of Samoa formally give notice that we demand the repeal of the Land Titles Registration Act 2008.

    All customary land leases of three years or more must be registered under S.32 of the LTRA 2008.

    By registering customary land leases under the LTRA 2008, a forbidden alienation of Aiga land rights takes place.

    Section 32 of the LTRA 2008 is quite clear that the person who registers a customary land lease holds it in their name absolutely free from all other estates and interests that are not so recorded.

    except the State can:

    1) pass laws to grant itself rights over that land,

    2) enter, go across or do things on land for [a public] purpose or

    3) recover taxes, duties, charges, rates or assessments by proceedings in respect of land; or

    4) to expropriate (take) land.

    5) to restrict the use of land.

    Registering a customary land lease under the LTRA 2008:

    1) Passes absolute control and ownership [sovereignty] to the HRPP State,

    2) Alienates [unconstitutionally] the ancestral customary land rights of not only the person, who registers the lease, but every Aiga member.

    3) Grants the person on the certificate of title a freehold title and no right to protest any act of the State regarding that land.

    The Constitution is quite clear that without a National Referendum of all voters in which 2/3 agree to the changes to the landholding system that the rights of Aiga may not be alienated [taken] howsoever, meaning in any way.

    SSIG thanks the Prime Minister for his invitation to present our demands to Parliament and we will attend Parliament at his invitation on 19 December 2017 at the Parliamentary session to present our demands to the Speaker of the House to be tabled and discussed.

    Faleauto Simi Maua Taua 03 December 2017
    Spokesman for SSIG


  2. I would like to respond to your article. I am one of the organizers of the March and have read your last few articles with great interest as they are insightful and quite revealing as to the nature of the beast we face. I understand the nature of your pessimism. Its not often that the establishment gets its comeuppance from a rag tag group of grass roots activists. However, we who are at the core of this movement have been making noise for a long time. We have been biding our time since 2009 and posting our opposition to this law of LTR 2008 and the government of the HRPP on social media for nearly 10 years. The circumstances which have come together without our manipulation are quite amazing and fortuitous.

    I met Maua Faleauto online on Talofa Lava a Samoan chatroom back before facebook. We had many battles on that room with others who are still active now, in Facebook regarding the legality of LTR 2008. There was no plan at the time to remove this law and try and unseat the PM with his well established and well oiled political machine, however we did not deviate from our message that this law was just the symptom of larger more deadly infection that was festering at the head of the Samoan nation, which you and others have written and verified.

    In those early days there were many others who were voicing their displeasure with the law and presenting the message in their own way. Fiu Elisara was(is) one of the most effective who was working the ground game, meeting with Samoan chiefs in their villages and sharing his views on LTRA 2008 and the ramifications of the Torrens Land registration on Customary land. His work instigated a “revolt” by Sili chiefs in Savaii who were so incensed by their own loss of their water rights and other land to the government pursuant to these laws. Unasa Iuni Sapolu, esq., was a vocal opponent of the law who was falsely imprisoned. Others such as Dr. Iati Iati and the Samoa Observer were writing their criticism of the law in publications both journalistically and academically. And there were also individuals who found unsettling connections between the ADB and Samoa’s upheavals of the early 1980s which ultimately resulted in the establishment of the HRPP and Party politics which is a joke when the same party has made it practically impossible, with passage of strict electoral laws, for a viable opposition to take root. All of these voices were scattered and lacked coordination. It was like a discordant chorus, unsuitable for public consumption. There was no harmony.

    Fast forward to 2017…there has emerged two developments which have crystallized the voices into a movement, one of which you have so eloquently discussed…the rise of an anonymous blogger, Ole Palemia (“The Prime Minister”) and the other is social media…more accurately Facebook. These two elements have changed the landscape with such speed that the PM and the establishment have yet to figure out how to deal with it. In the PM’s mind this is just another gnat he can swipe with his hand and it will die. This is the overconfidence we hope is going to be his downfall.

    OLP emerged from a Facebook group called Palemene o Samoa. This group became the forum of choice for many opinionated Samoans who voiced positions for and against the government. This was the fertile ground where the message became more and more refined. It allowed the voices of those who could not speak publicly for fear of retribution in Samoa to speak out with the protection of anonymity. This emboldened many and eventually OLP was born. I was there when he first made his appearance on POS. The audacity he portrayed was quite unsettling for the readers who were amazed at his knowledge and in depth view of the Prime Minister’s private life and the decisions that were coming from the government. He became a target of the pro-government members of POS who used their power to vilify OLP and report him to Facebook as a way to stop him from revealing the secrets of the HRPP in full view of the world.

    It was in this environment of oppression and unilateral censorship experienced by OLP that a decision was made to start his own blog and that became the impetus for the movement we now are witnessing. Without Facebook and the use of anonymous blogs the movement might have never found its legs. But the movement has morphed into something that is not familiar to those who have been around Samoans. This a Mau. The Mau has been reborn with a collection of Samoans including the anonymous voice of OLP, the seasoned sage experience of Maua Faleauto and Iuni Sapolu, the administrative skills of Taloto Unasa and the fire of a great number of those who have come together with purpose and resources, as well as a plan to take the government of Tuilaepa to task or at least influence future elections.

    These are not unseasoned amateurs. These are people who have experience in all areas of life from the legal field to the manipulation of media. They are not your garden variety Samoans. These are professionals with experience of working in foreign corporate organizations, who understand the economics of organizational movements. They have been activists in other lands and countries. They understand the price that will be paid and the strategies that need to be utilized. They have studied foreign politiics for years, watched the ascension and decline of many political systems in foreign lands. These are scholars, business people, religious motivators, broadcasters, real estate owners, and media experts. This a combination of young and old talent. We have individuals in their 70s and we have some are in their 20s….who are extremely knowledgeable in how to manipulate the internet. We have collectively been working toward this goal for nearly 10 years. This is our Super Bowl.

    On the cusp of the 10 year anniversary of the passage of this law, a march has been organized that is intended to awake Samoans in Samoa to the realization that they still wield the power in Samoa and to not fear Tuilaepa. The planned march has captured the imagination of many Samoans both in Samoa and outside and has galvanized many of these voices that were singing alone to unite and form a choir to begin the process of contesting this illegal law.

    We are not naive to think this is a stroll in the park, we face a formidable foe who has the broad support of forces that are controlled by foreign interests. We recognize our enemies are assembled to keep the status quo in place.But we are not fazed and this is by no means a short term engagement, we are here for the duration and our determination and ability will be put up against the collective power of the Samoan government and its foreign enablers. But that does not intimidate us at all.

    Lets do this!

    • Faafetai Albert. Let’s do this indeed. I will respond to your lengthy comment here in greater detail at a later stage for logistical reasons I am unable to respond immediately.

  3. I think this “Protest March” is the testing of the waters in Samoa.
    This protest march is just a first baby step into much bigger and greater things ahead in the future for all of Samoa. Samoans have remained silent for far too long.
    As long as “the message” remains loud and clear the people of Samoa will not be able to ignore it any longer but will respond.
    The more people in Samoa get involved the louder the voice of the people will get and the PM will not be able to ignore the voice of Samoa.
    There have been many calls in the past “Samoa Ala Mai!” (Samoa Wake Up!)
    Now Samoa has awoken!!!! Samoa mo Samoa. Only Samoans can fix what is wrong in Samoa.
    In Jesus Christ I pray to protect all the brave marchers on the 16th of December. I wish I was there in Samoa to participate. My thoughts and prayers will be with you all.
    Keith Alderson (A Samoan with a palagi name living in Adelaide, Australia.

    • Talofa Uso. Thank you for commenting here again. Keith your thinking is good but limited and with respect I wish to disagree with the entire premise that man can and should and will achieve something FOR God, or goodness or godliness. When you see things from His perspective it is His desire that people turn to Him – not Samoa Mo Samoa; not people power; not political overthrow. Yes by all means get the message out; yes by all means protect life; yes by all means talk about it and expose the corruption but we must understand that Tuila’epa has the power and will use it. In an upcoming post I will be explaining again why he has no choice but to sell Samoa’s sovereignty and deceive the people. Social change movements and revolutions are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. YOu have to plug the holes and pump the boat. This means martyrs, sacrifice and humility all for HIM, not Samoa. It is when the people turn to Him and repent that He can forgive and heal the land. NOTHING else including marches or political actions can achieve what the people really want – relief from the oppression that I know you and I know and abhor. When there is blood on the streets and the current social movement finds that the new head of the snake (if there is one) is just the same or worse as the current leader; when the people vote again and again and it only gets WORSE, and when this generation passes away then perhaps He will get the respect and honour that He seeks and I believe deserves.


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