31 Aug 2010

Warning Samoa land dispute involving Head of State shows need for dialogue

4:28 pm on 31 August 2010

A Samoan academic says Samoa's Head of State's row with the village of Lufilufi has highlighted lessons for other customary landowners to have open dialogue.

Samoa's Prime Minister has ordered a commission of inquiry into the row over a shelter Tui Atua Tamasese Efi built on customary land his title owns.

But the village council says consultations and cultural protocols weren't adhered to prior to its construction and the matter still hasn't been resolved amicably, with the Head of State threatening to resign.

Samoan academic at the University of Hawaii, Sailiemanu Lilomaiava-Doktor, says ongoing talks between the family and the village are crucial.

"I think its very important and a lesson we should all learn from, not only the chiefs but also the aiga. I think in order for Samoa to move forward, people have to be more like listen to other people, and agree to disagree, for things to move forward. Otherwise we could be in this situation all our lives."

Sailiemanu Lilomaiava-Doktor says the matter also highlights that even someone with a paramount chiefly title, isn't above village laws and protocols.