Village leaders of Sale'aula village in Samoa have turned down a proposal by a Chinese company for a tourism development project in fear of losing their land.
Sale'aula's Member of Parliament Levaopolo Talatonu Vaai coordinated the deal and was surprised at the last minute decision not to sign the lease agreement with Grand Ocean Ltd.
Levaopolo says the hotel project would have helped the district in terms of employment and financial stability.
He says the fear of losing land is not a good enough reason and believes there was more to the decision than that.
"I am thinking there's a lot of political tactics from these few people of the village. But unfortunately, they missed it. And I also told them this project is not for us in this time but it's for our children and the next generation in the future."
Levaopolo Talatonu Vaai says the constitution ensures that customary land in Samoa can only be leased, not sold.