4 Aug 2005

SamoaTel hill tower construction on hold

3:35 pm on 4 August 2005

The state-owned communications company SamoaTel says it has halted further development of a tower on top of a historical site on Manono island.

A High chief on Manono, Leiataua Vaiao Alailima, has raised concern over the tower being built over a 17th century starmound that was used as a place of worship in pre-missionary days.

SamoaTel's marketing manager Justin Caswell said the company followed all the proper procedures, including legally securing the land lease on Manono, after extensive consultations with landowners.

Mr Caswell says the landowners didn't inform the company of the site's historical and religious significance.

"There's a lot of grey areas and there are a lot of people who appear to be stakeholders over land. So we are going through a process to double and triple check as to who the stakeholders are to ensure we have the appropriate consent, and if deemed to be a problem we'll take remedial action."

SamoaTel's marketing manager, Justin Caswell