20 Aug 2010

Samoa matai await answer on return of land sold for guns and suitcases

10:00 am on 20 August 2010

The leaders of Vaitele village in Samoa are awaiting an answer from the government on whether lands sold off for guns and suitcases under colonisation will be returned.

The government inherited a large part of the Faleata district land from colonial administrators upon independence.

Vaitele's matai eventually negotiated the lease from government of almost 12 hectares and now want that land returned to customary ownership so it can't be sold.

Our correspondent in Faleata, Alan Ah Mu, says there's no indication as to whether the matai will be successful.

"They have a good chance if you view the sitation along the lines that the government does want the partitional set-up maintained and in fact it's a known government policy to encourage people to stay in their own villages and districts rather than crowd into the capital."