Family demands $1million

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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DISAPPOINTED SISTERS ARE STANDING THEIR GROUND: Tuaato Tauvalau Salaus and her sister Aiava Johnson claim the government has ripped them off by offering $34,000 for their family land.

DISAPPOINTED SISTERS ARE STANDING THEIR GROUND: Tuaato Tauvalau Salaus and her sister Aiava Johnson claim the government has ripped them off by offering $34,000 for their family land. (Photo: Nefertiti Matatia)

The Government has given the Tauvalaau family of Satapuala an ultimatum. They have a week, Wednesday 28 February 2018, to move. 

The order was confirmed by Tuaato Tauvalau Salausa, of Satapuala.

But the family is not moving. She said that unless the Government pays them $1million, they are not going anywhere.

She also called on Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi to reconsider the Government’s decision. 

“We will not leave our family land; this is where my father and our family members are buried,” she said.

“I will not leave this land. This is my father’s (Tauvalaau Fasio) land.” 

She claims the Government intends to extend the Faleolo International Airport runway across their family land. 

“This is where I was born and grew up and I cannot fathom how the Samoan Government can just hand out only $34,000 to my daughter, yet our family land is worth far more than the lousy money they gave us."

“I live in American Samoa and prior to moving back in 2005, I had my daughter stay here at our land."

“I was only informed that my daughter accepted the $34,000. That is not enough to compensate the value of our land. How can the Samoa Government pay us peanuts?” 

Asked whether the family will move come 28 February 2018, the mother is determined that will not happen. 

“I am not moving out of my family land and I don’t care who will come, I will not move,” she said. 

Salausa also has a message for Prime Minister Tuilaepa. 

“Lands and chiefly titles are treasured by families and being that you Tuilaepa are a Chief, a leader of this country, you should know what we are fighting for." 

 “Why can’t the government extend the airport towards Mulifanua, yet they have to pick on our family land?"

“I am 73 years old, and my sister Aiava Johnson is 75 years old, we were born here and we’ve lived here all our lives." 

“What hurts the most is the heartless move by the Government."

“There are three acres that is utilised by our family and for the Government to just come and evict us; it is just unbelievable how much they gave my daughter a lousy $34,000.” 

The mother was emotional noting that her father is buried on their land. 

Satapuala Village Mayor, Vaili Mimita told the Samoa Observer that the families in question have been informed by the Village Council. 

“I can confirm that the Government has given the family until next week to leave this specific part of Satapuala." 

“The Village has allocated a specific space for the four families to move to, but if the families refuse to move, that is their prerogative and the government will step in, but the Village Council has already played their part,” said Vaili. 

“We informed them the eviction is effective next week,” he said. 

Efforts to get an interview with Chairman of the Government Land Committee, Patea Setefano, have been unsuccessful. 

A personal visit to the office and phone calls were answered by the Secretary and A.C.E.O, Joslyn Mariner, who said Setefano was in a meeting.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa is in New Zealand for a climate change conference and his Office has cancelled all his media appointments this week, until further notice. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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