1 Sep 2005

Salelologa landowners seeking further compensation from Samoa Government

6:57 pm on 1 September 2005

Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment says the valuation of customary lands has disrupted the government's plans to develop Salelologa on Savaii.

The Government has returned more than a thousand hectares of customary land in Salelologa which it had originally intended as the site of a new town and a National Park.

But the Ministry's chief executive Tu'uu Ieti Taulealo says landowners are taking the government to court to settle the value of 200 hectares of land it has retained.

"Compensation. What should the government pay to the village? The government's already paid some money to the village, but the villagers say its not enough, so the court is going to say ' you need to pay more' or 'what's been paid is enough', so that's what is before the court."

Mr Taulealo says the government has paid nearly one and a half million US dollars so far to local chiefs, but they want 45 million US.