Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas


Christmas

Is fun and cheerful in my village

Is Blasting "Mary's Boy Child" reggae on speakers from Otara

and Pasi o le Vaa

Is riding my bike through the village

Is watching manu ao singing on the illuminated road

Is envying the family with the white skinned visitors from "outside"

Is being joyful and kissing everyone you meet, knowing you will kiss them again

after New Year's church service.


Ultimately

Christmas is, for pubescent adults a time to sneak under banana trees

doing things their mothers won't appreciate

Despite always getting caught

And having her hair cut short

Because they say, "they are related, makaifale"


Nevertheless,
Christmas is joyful

When our troubles are forgotten ever so briefly

Enemies are befriended and scores settled, temporarily

Whatever the case, lets all be merry


Hoping and wishing all loved one and friends

A very happy Christmas and an even better New Year

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Creating a Family Tree

Lord give me the strength to compete our Family Tree successfully without offending and having the aunties flare their nostrils at me for not having their third names hyphenated correctly.


So, its 26 days away from the Tiatia Lokeni First ever Family Reunion and I shot myself in the foot by offering to create the Family Tree.

Who was I kidding anyway?

I'm only up to the 6th wife/partner and the siblings themselves don't know everyones names!!!

I know for a fact I will piss off 3 aunties and 2 uncles because the order in which the wifes/partners appear is "incorrect".

It is damned hard to please everybody, so I will endeavor to put the blame on someone else (-:

While i'm at it, I just want to vent and huff about our laxed island mentality - our elders have been meeting almost monthly for a year, organising the reunion.


26 days to go and there is no structured programme for the 3 days.

The reunion leader (this position has been changed twice now) said "we'll sort that out when we get there!!!"

so so typical!!!


Last sunday, i attended one of the meetings for the first time in a long long time (since i used to work sundays),. It was at Cornwall Park on a glorious day with happy people picnicking on the grass, palagis playing cricket and our family eating chicken hearts and mamoe lololo....gotta love it!!

There were three generations at the park, Tiatia Lokeni's children (from 4 different mothers this time), his grandchildren (like me) and the little people like Gafoaleata, Ioane and MM.


All went well until Aunty Aniva whacked out the jandal and started beating lil' Ioane for running to the road.

Have you watched that movie "The day the earth stood still?"

Well, I haven't but every single person stopped and watched as this crazy woman beat her child senseless with a seevae kosokoso.

A cousin ran to stop the madness and she was almost tackled to the ground, and then another managed to stop Aniva.

At that moment, the only song playing in my head was "I want to sink into the ground right about now" but before that, give Aniva the same beating she just gave Ioane.

Why did she have to ruin it all for everyone else? and for Ioane?

Why the need for excessive beatings? Arghhhhhh, I hate this so much!

I hate that our own, family use beatings so freely to discipline the young.

Ironically enough, we were meant to leave MM with Aniva that arvo so we could go to ALicia Keys concert.

Needless to say, I wont be dropping any child of mine off to that crazy woman.

Reminds me of when we were little and Uncle Satuu used to get out the salu lima or (the hose if it was a Type A offence like swimming in the pool all day) and sasa us until we would limp home and compare our bruises.


Bad bad example set for the rest of the family however, it had insired me to come up with a theme for our youth presentation: "Violence is NOT the answer" and we will lobby to make the reunion "Smoke Free and Alcohol Free" ...hmmm, looks like i won't be making many friends at the reunion.

aw well, their problem not mine.

now, back to that Family tree with the numerous branches from various known and unknown roots, pity we didnt have condoms readily available at the market back in the 40s...im going to write my next update on why there are so many "roots" to this tree of mine.

Monday, November 24, 2008

When the Law becomes an afterthought

A few months back, I read in one of the Samoan Observer articles about a 3 years old girl being molested by some dumb fark from Sogi, I was momentarily stumped by the cruelty and indecently forced on this poor babe.

A three year old girl is indecently assaulted, by a 19 year old male.

He admits touching her private parts, on numerous occasions. Apparently, the child's hymen was torn.

3 year old child. Baby. Little. Broken.

In the Samoa Observer edition, it stated that " Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu accepted the accused’s statement that he only played with the victim’s private parts.
Remember this is a defenseless innocent baby!


"He maintained his denial of the allegation of having committed an indecency on the girl resulting in her hymen being torn.


Chief Justice Patu accepted the denial.

He said some would say that the mother should not allow a male to wash, dry and put on the clothes of her daughter.


“It puts the accused in a position of temptation,” Chief Justice Patu said.

It was “risky” for a parent to allow it.

(so you meant its the parents fault for trusting someone with their child, and its their fault for assuming that this male wont just wash, dry and dress her? that he was the innocent party, that the naked 3 year old shouldn't have been exposed to him?)
“In my opinion, the degree of criminality ... in this case is at the low end of the scale.”

Low end of the scale? I say this Judge needs to reassess and rethink this decision. This is heartless.

It seems as if indecent assault is not very high on his radar.

No wonder there is so much of this happening in Samoa, and it will continue to be the case, and thanks to CJ Sapolu, it will get worse.

Seeing how lightly the courts consider it, the rapist is getting a tap on the hand and goes back to raping young innocent defenseless children.

If the law isn't going to save them, and the culture continues to silence them, then what hope have they?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

on the lighter side of life

I realise again why mothers of little babies don't usually have make up, or have the time to trim their eyebrows.

On our recent trip to Marseille, I decided stubbornly to invest in a bloody costly shiseido pack, including an oh so luscious-better-than-orgasm lipcolor that was perfect pour moi!!! chocolatey nude moisturising stuff that lasted, even after my 3 coffee at work.

It was worth very penny, or shall I say, worth $26US at ICN airport.

Last week, my MM went through my "kuluku Prada" bag (tell you about that later), discovered my pride and joy lippy and dipped her fingers in until it was but a blob of mushy remains on the carpet, clothes, couch and little MM.

Since that fateful moment, I have changed my attitude to parenting.

MM will get that smack on the backside without warning, she will wipe that colour off the couch, she will weed the grass if she fails her exam and she will repay me when she gets her first job.

My rules or "hit of road Jack"


So back to Loreal on sale I go.

Who was I kidding anyway? Theres nothing Shiseido about this hot mama (love flattering myself on my OWN blog) I'm always going to be the half price diva, the MTA voucher Queen, the Goddess on a very tight budget and very big shopping list.


So I came up with a cunning plan, since we're constantly frequented by wanna be politicians wanting our votes, I approched the MP from Ham East today at the Mall and made an offer he will refuse.

"Book with me and I give you my tick mate"


Speaking of voting, I wish I could vote OBAMA.

COz Helen Clark is a bit mafu(stale) now, she's been in the job too long and she's turning New Zealand into a pitiful state, with a huge braindrain problem and escalating crime in her leadership.

Sad that National leaning towards the opposite extreme though, but then again, shit happens.

I'm glad to see Taito Phillip Field setting up his own PAcific Party.

I am all for brown people leading the way and I have a soft spot for Taito, every time I see him, he says "Hows your mom?" and I smile and feel spe"th"ial, even though I know for sure the bastard says that to every young coconut voter he comes across.

Winnie Laban on the other hand, now that's class I say.

She is the epitome of the beautiful ideal Pacific woman (without the rolls).
She is strong, articulate, tall (that counts) and isn't afraid to switch off and drag a few ciggies at the car park.

Where Taito faltered, she stepped in and said "Hold up, let the woman show ya the way".

So, go Lumanuvao Winnie Laban, "o ou mama na"

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sa fai la'u miti

I have 17 draft entries in here, unpublished, unfinished because

I hav'nt the time to correct and approve my own writing.

I am my worst critic.

My mood is so kaleidoscopic that I crinch at an entry that only yesterday I wrote so passionately about.

Let me share an intriguing fact about me.

Yes, Because its all about Me. A'u. Moi'.

I am an eloquent writer in my sleep.

In fact, I win Nobel Prizes from my writings in my sleep

At times, I am woken from my narratives because I want to word it properly.

However, transcending from dream to thinking disrupts my slumber.

Once conscious, I find myself dissapointed I have forgotten my superbly worded story in the back of my sleeping mind.

Last night, I was woken abruptly from my dreamlike fagogo by the violence of my thoughts.

I was being choked, suffocated and gasping for air.

I was hanging from a banana tree next to a green mountain.

As I fought for my life, I realised that the banana tree was bending slowly to the weight of my beautiful body (Like I said, its a dream, anything is possible).

In a painfully slow motion, the banana tree fell towards to earth, unto my head.

I woke up frightfully, relieved that it was only a dream.

As I lay myself to sleep, my miti spirit roams again.

Hmmmm, where shall I take you next?

CandyLand? Lech in Winter? Strawberry flavoured clouds? Half naked Sparkan men serving you Vailima? under a fuafua tree?

I struggle at first to manipulate my wandering thoughts.

Dream happy dreams, dream happy dreams

Only to find that once again, my wishes are ignored and I'm once again stuck between two faafafines on a Pasi o le Vaa bus crawling towards Mulifanua.

My alarm clock strikes 6am and I realise that that, wasn't a dream, that was a fucken memory.

Satuiatua

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Free Joe Keil

Count on the AMerican system to bugger this up.

Joe Keil does not deserve the treatment from the Amercians.

Yep, the same Americans he fought for while he was in the military, along with his siblings and half his family. Ya never know what youre gonna get with these people.
Joe Keil is the one person, the one politician who has made such a huge difference for so many people in Samoa and others alike.

He has spent his life serving others, including America, the land of the "supposed" free, only to be told "ummm, sorry mate, you may have fought our wars but you aint one of us".

When will this bullying end? I wonder.

He has done nothing but try to inspire others, he has sent hundreds of young people abroad towards opportunities, and has encouraged those in Samoa.

I should know, I see him on the street, talking to the gardeners, not as a political stunt but because that is the person he is. He knows people by name.

I hope that Joe Keil is okay and hoping even more my darling Nathan is not missing his dad too much.This is so so farken unfair.<

Photo from Island Business website
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Friday, August 08, 2008

Airing the dirty laundry in Marshall, Rumour Has It.

so, here i am thinking we've got real corrupt dramas in our island nation but then I start getting emails about everything that the Marshall Islands govt dont want you to know!!!

Why my email? You may ask?

Because i was subscribed to receive Marshall Islands updates from their Press Secretariat, after meeting their delegation at the PI Forum when the leaders met in Auckland.

So, I won't make any judgements because I am only a spectator watching the dog fight from the grandstands but it does make for interesting reading.

And its definitely ticking off the "important" people because they are responding and its childishly animating.

Somtimes I wish someone would have the balls to do the same in Samoa, but then again, what do we get out of it?

"Awareness" for a start, but no real steps towards positive change.

They will simply be anonymous Rumours, and that's the problems with remaininig anonymous. No real actual physical backing. hmmmm....

On the other hand, I do sympathise with this initiative and those of discontent Islanders, because the reality is that we live on islands that are too small for freedom of speech and too narrow for speaking your mind.

You piss off the wrong crowd and you find yourself jobless, or worse, roasted between lava rocks.

You only have to look at our own country, where people channel their frustrations through Samoa Observer but very rarely with actual names. Because you can't afford to piss off the Government. That, my friend is a fact.

Frankly, the democratic process is maimed slightly when it is adopted by small islands with fat issues, because people definitely do not have the unconsequential freedom nor security to speak against unjust political decisions.
Our only hope is speaking as Opposition in Mulinuu, but hello Vancouver, airena opposition in Samoa.

They're too busy scratching their balls and fighting amongst themselves.

Anyhow, subscribe and be informed. good or bad, thats for you to decide.

Here's a copy of the July 15th email, very juicy stuff indeed!!!



Rumor Has It is an online distribution to enhance your awareness of the islands and keeping you and your leaders at bay...feel free to forward to your friends.

Email islandrumors@gmail.com to contribute or receive weekly "Rumor Has It" emails or to remove yourself from the weekly circulation.

Lalomanu at dusk, 2007

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pusi pusi miau

Pusi pusi miau,
o fea lau fanau?
o la e i tua o le pola
sa alu e fagota
a maua mai se ia
fafao i totonu o le ola
Tina, tina, nofo ia i luga ua tu le mata o le la
Tama, tama, aua le paie ae toaga e alu i uta
Sau Patele ma le pusa masi tele
Ua uma na masaa i le auala tele
O a na mea e i totonu o le ato?
Tasi tamato, 2 fuapato, 3 ????

Now that there is a 2 year old character hanging onto my skirt, my memories of primer one in fusi safotulafai is blinking back on. I remember a little about my first year (pre school) at Saint Theresa, in a tiny fale o'o near the large gatae trees.
Our teacher was Miss Silia, who I always thought would be what Humpty Dumpty's wife looked like.
She was tiny at the bottom and very round in the middle.
She used to play the guitar and make us stand up and sing "oma rapiti X 10".
We all had inspection on Monday mornings- our nails had to be clean and nail- polish free (yes maam, 5 years old do that sometimes:-) and our hair had to be combed back (usually slicked shiny with mama's faguu samoa) and we had to have a hankerchief pinned to the left breast pocket of our blue poplin uniforms.
Failure to comply means a sasa with the salu lima.
Needless to say, I learnt to bite my nails early in life.
So, to transliterate the above nursery rhyme:

Pussy cat meow
Where are your churens?
They are behind the pola
They have been fishing
Whenever they catch a fish
stick it in the basket
Mother, mother, wake up now the sun is already up
Father father, dont be lazy and go to the plantation
The Priest came with a big box of biscuit
That has spilled out on the street
what are those in the basket?
one tamato, 2 duck eggs and.....??

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clydesdale's Polynesians

Clydesdale, a wanker of an academic presents a study basically summing that "Polynesians are a downfall to the NZ economy".

He reckons that "these people" should not be brought into the country anymore because they do not contribute to the economy.

Firstly, Clydesdale. I am hoping an uneconomical Polynesian will bitch smack your redneck face with a jandal.

He goes on to say that the whole NZ/Polynesian relationship is a "mismatch" and we (NZ) should not bring in any more (coconuts).

I, as a taxpaying hard working Polynesian am dissapointed because this man -the nerve of the bastard! has basically made a sad generalisation about a people who have "also" contributed to this very floundering economy.

What Clydesdale chooses to overlook, is that Polynesians are here because NZ needed them in the first place - Polynesians have been running the factories, harvesting your crops, cleaning your streets and making up your sports teams while skinny pakehas where skipping ropes under pohutukawa trees.

If you are calling this NZ/Polynesian relationship a mismatch, then what of the relationship bewteen the maoris and the white NZ? (and frankly, Maoris have been telling you for aeons for fark off to no avail!)

I thought people like Clydesdale died off back in the Hitler era - but nope-they still exist.

What about the fact that Polynesians also represent those born in New Zealand -who have contributed from the start? Born to immigrant parents but neverthless KIWI!
This is why I reckon these arrogant academics should get out of their enclosed lecture theatres and see the reality that is New Zealand.

To blame Polynesians for their own demise is sad.

We are not asking for extra resources, nor a hand out - hell no, in fact, it is the white man who is labelling me and telling me what is best for me.

Telling me from birth that I am 'at risk' that I am from a "low socio-economic background, that I am most likely to NOT succeed.

It is attitudes like this man that sends us backwards.
It gives everyone dead ends, not solutions.

How can someone say "Lets not bring any more in?" as if they are an unwanted bag of lausului?

So bringing in Brits will be a better option?

Hello Houston! The better qualified Brits won't even move to NZ only to earn a fraction of their current income!, The ones itching to migrate are also economy drainers, (to borrow Clydesdale's notions), factory workers and unskilled people

The criminals and the drop outs that this researcher considers the voice of Polynesians are first and foremost, a product of the system.
The white man's system.

They failed because most are born into a society where they do not belong, they are Pacific Islanders in low docile schools with limited resources. But hey, they are also New Zealanders, born right here in Middlemore and Poirirua.

Thus, it is NOT a Polhynesian problem. It is a New Zealand problem. Irrespective of colour, race or geographical origins. Oka, do some research on Martin Lurther King next time polo!
How sad is that? They are only NZers if they succeed? But Polynesian if they are hopeless and kalepe fale all over? I gant biliv it

Finally, yes - there is a finally - this putrido does raise some valid points, yes-there are actually valid points in all this - that is, many Polynesians are underachieving, many are breaking into houses right now, many are not contributing to economic growth.
But for fark's sake, we can't all be Jonah Lomus and Winnie Labans and Goddesses like me!!!

Remember, for one Tana Umuga, there is a several hundred toilet cleaners.

For one David Tua, there are five hundred strawberry growers,

For one Albert Wendt, there are two hundred people at the freezing works.

And for a generation of All Black players, there a Mongrel Mob hopefully headed Clydesdale's way.
What a stink ass man
g.m.clydesdale@massey.ac.nz

Monday, May 12, 2008

Remember, you are unique, just like everybody else

hmmm, love fury logic right now.

I'm just writing out of the need to write, because l"o"ife is too short.

.....................well, i would be more inclined to write but my two sisters are in the same room and they tend to disrupt my peace of mind. Clatter here, clatter there, yada yada make me a cuppa rarara.

next thing ya know, it's 11:59pm and nothing has been accomplished.

A lot has happened that needs mentioning. For my own sanity.

Pride and deceit.

One thing that is prevalent with our own people"s" is this, unreasonable "pride".

So many people have setbacks, real issues but its pride that stops them for admitting it.

I understand this because I am a product of this culture. All the ipu maka'eka'e come out of the sefe when the faifeau comes to visit.

I see my elders giving her last $100 tala to the faletua and says "something for your pasese"....and she lives 3 houses down the dirt path.

.....lets digress a lil' bit here, becuase again, my train of thought has been derailed yet again.

Older sister is showing me a video clip of my mother riding a camel in Oman last year. What a sight. She flew over in November and older sister asked, "What do you wants to do mother?"

"Eh, ka fia ki'eki'e i se kamela"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

When the Law becomes an afterthought

A few months back, I read in one of the Samoan Observer articles about a 3 years old girl being molested by some dumb fark from Sogi, I was momentarily stumped by the cruelty and indecently forced on this poor babe.'''

A three year old girl is indecently assaulted, by a 19 year old male.
He admits touching her private parts, on numerous occasions. Apparently, the child's hymen was torn.
3 year old child. Baby. Little. Broken.
In the Samoa Observer edition, it stated that " Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu accepted the accused’s statement that he only played with the victim’s private parts.
Remember this is a defenseless innocent baby!

"He maintained his denial of the allegation of having committed an indecency on the girl resulting in her hymen being torn.

Chief Justice Patu accepted the denial.

He said some would say that the mother should not allow a male to wash, dry and put on the clothes of her daughter.

“It puts the accused in a position of temptation,” Chief Justice Patu said.

It was “risky” for a parent to allow it.
(so you meant its the parents fault for trusting someone with their child, and its their fault for assuming that this male wont just wash, dry and dress her? that he was the innocent party, that the naked 3 year old shouldn't have been exposed to him?)
“In my opinion, the degree of criminality ... in this case is at the low end of the scale.”

Low end of the scale? I say this Judge needs to reassess and rethink this decision. This is heartless.
It seems as if indecent assault is not very high on his radar.
No wonder there is so much of this happening in Samoa, and it will continue to be the case, and thanks to CJ Sapolu, it will get worse.
Seeing how lightly the courts consider it, the rapist is getting a tap on the hand and goes back to raping young innocent defenseless children.
If the law isn't going to save them, and the culture continues to silence them, then what hope have they?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Whatever happened to the Taumeasina Tourist Project

I keep forgetting to publish this article by Cherelle.....but here it goes...note: this was her last article before their office was burned to the ground the following day, hmmmm...so far they hav'nt found the arsonist yet....



Whatever happened to the Taumeasina Tourist Project
Written by Cherelle Jackson
Friday, 24 August 2007



An investigation into the history and questionable facts of the Taumeasina Tourist Project which spans over 50 years.


Back in 2004, in the shadow of the Pacific Island Forum a small but significant gathering took place at Taumeasina, the more idyllic part of Moata’a.
It was the ground-breaking ceremony of Samoa's newest tourism development, then known as the Taumeasina Tourist Project. Under the shade of a white tent, the Prime Minister Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi along with Cabinet Ministers and CEOs joined Matautu Chiefs, foreign and local lawyers and investors in what was to be a monumental event to the tourism industry of Samoa.

After 33 years of negotiations, discussions, government agreements and finally signatures, the Taumeasina Tourist Project was given the thumbs up by the Government, Moataa village and the various investors and lawyers involved.

It was to be the beginning of a proposed luxury resort on the island just off Moataa, Taumeasina, funded by Investor and Chief Executive Officer of RSI Holdings Samoa Limited Mr. Gordon Taylor and implemented in part by Solicitor Trevor Stevenson.


Dubbed the closest thing to a Sheraton in Samoa, it was to be the most luxurious resort yet to be built on Upolu.


The development plans included 300 luxury hotel bungalows, condos, luxury homes, tennis courts, swimming pools and other luxury facilities for tourists.


But despite glossy blue prints and top of the line graphics, Tuilaepa was sceptical.


"Four Prime Ministers have passed, more than 70 Ministers of Parliaments and approval by Government and meetings including one with International funding agencies and yet this project never really happened," he said with his usual frown.


He continued to express his doubts and reservations about the project and concluded his speech by bestowing the blessings of the Government to Taylor and Mr. Trevor Stevenson, Solicitor for the project.


The Prime Minister highlighted the significance of the project coinciding with proposals for other similar projects in Vavau, Mulivai, Tafatafa, Mulifanua and Matatufu, back in 2004.



PUMA Legislation


The project was, according to Stevenson, to be the first project funded solely by foreign investment.


In his speech Taylor emphasized on the importance of the project to the tourism industry.


He spoke freely and frankly about the difficulties and challenges they faced before arriving at the official starting point of construction.


"If I had read or known about the PUMA legislation before I got involved in the project I would not have bothered," he said.


Mr. Gordon said the Act prohibited several aspects of the project and suggested quite blatantly that the Minister in charge "revisit the Act and make applicable changes" as it may hinder development in the country.


"This legislation was obviously made in Australia or New Zealand but it is not applicable to Samoa until maybe 20 years time," he said flatly.



Land Lease


Two years after that day, in the air conditioned office of Minister of Natural Resource and Environment Hon. Faumuina Liuga a lease was signed by Taylor to officially hand over the land for the planned resort on the Taumeasina Island and part of the surrounding area.


The long awaited land lease for the Taumeasina development project was finally signed and Taylor was admittedly happy.


“It has been five years and I am glad to finally see this document signed,” Taylor said.


He then added: “Now I have only about 300 days to build this place before the SPG begins.”


The Minister said the resort was to be a great opportunity for the people of Samoa.


“This sort of development will see Samoans being employed on all levels, as cleaners, waiters and right up to the management level,” he said.


He said as far as he can see the Resort can only do good for Samoa.

Taylor said the first phase of the project would take time and he hoped to start with 50 rooms.

“This is a high end resort, and eventually I would like to see 300 rooms around it,” he said.

The lease agreement was signed on the 29th of September 2006, almost a year ago today.



For Sale

Last week, Newsline received an email from one ‘Dave Main’ with the subject: ‘u wanna buy’ and in the email was a link to a website addressed www.samoaislandresort.com for the sale of the Taumeasina Island Resort.


I visited the website on Monday the 6th 2007 and on the top of the page it displayed: “For Sale / or Joint Development.”


That same day, I called the Solicitor of the Development, Stevenson for reasons of the sale.


According to him the multimillion dollar development was only “partially” up for sale.

Asked about the website, he said he was “unaware” of it.http://www.samoaislandresort.com/

Stevenson said: “Gordon is a developer and he always wanted people with hotel experience to be part of the resort.”

Stevenson confirmed to Newsline that representatives from a Fijian group of hotels have shown interest in joint development.


He asserted: “The Government is aware of this and they will be visiting in the next few weeks.”


When Newsline revisited the website the next day, the words at the top of the page were: “For Joint Development” the “for sale” had been omitted.


However when scrolling down the website states: “If you just wish to purchase the resort or just the site and build your own resort this can be done, too. Or you might wish to purchase the whole island in which the current development includes condominiums and villas. You may wish to do your own thing.”

The site further points out: “The development enjoys tax-free incentives for 15 years.”

The website states: “A New Zealand based developer has completed building an island within a lagoon and is about to proceed building a holiday resort, condominiums, villas, a restaurant, reception facilities etc. There is also provision to build a second restaurant, night club and conference centre.”

It indicated that the number of rooms for the hotel is “totally negotiable but cannot be less that 55.”

“You may wish to build up to 250 units which should enjoy an occupancy rating percentage in the high 80s to low 90s,” the site states.


Attempts to reach Taylor for a comment were unsuccessful last week.


Questions

So why then is the multi million dollar development which has taken Taylor and others before him thirty years to secure and finally signed, is it now up for sale.

Since the groundbreaking ceremony back in 2004, neither Taylor nor Stevenson mentioned any plans for joint development or partial sale of the island or the development.

Taylor himself stated during the signing of the lease last year that he intended to complete his resort before the South Pacific Games.

The island still stands bare to date, SPG just a few weeks away.

The website does state: “The developer is suffering from a major health problem at the moment and has to travel to New Zealand for constant medical treatment, but will help or share in the development.”


PUMA and the elusive EIA

Since 2004, I tried, with several unsuccessful attempts to obtain a copy of the Preliminary Environmental Impact Assesment for the Taumeasina Project.


The EIA, generally agreed as a public document, was in this case, not so.


Part of the Planning for Urban Management Agency (PUMA) Act requires large scale developments to submit an EIA before commencement of construction and to hold public consultations to gauge the social impact of such a development.


Unfortunately neither the PEIA was public nor was a public consultation ever conducted for this development, that I knew of.


I sought the document from PUMA, unfortunately all my attempts were denied for reasons unbeknownst to me.

Visits to the office at Matautu also proved futile as I was referred from one person to the next, and in the end, PUMA confirmed they had the document but needed approval from the developer to release the EIA.


Efforts at the time to reach Taylor were unsuccessful.

A frustrated year later, I walked into the offices of Pacific Environment Consultants LTD [PECL] who conducted the EIA still seeking a copy of the elusive document.
I was told by a man in the office that although they conducted the EIA, they did not have the right to release the documents and that I must, once again, seek the approval of the Developer.
I managed to reach Taylor at his home at Taumeasina.“I have seen the EIA, unfortunately I do not have a copy with me but you are most welcome to obtain one,” Taylor said.

The verbal approval did not get me anywhere, but it was comforting to know that the Developer had nothing to hide and was transparent about the project.


During my search I managed to track down former ACEO of PUMA, Taulealeausumai Malua Lavasa to ask about the whereabouts of the document, and his opinion on the Environmental Impact of the development.


“I no longer work for the Government and I signed a contract not to speak about any matters while I was in that position until after two years of resigning, so call me back in two years,” he said bluntly.


I called current ACEO of PUMA, Jude Kolhase and he said: “That matter came into PUMA during the time of the former ACEO so I do not know much about it.”


The conversation ended with a promise by him to seek more information on the EIA and call me back.


He did not call back, and after a follow up phone call from my end, Kolhase maintained his position about “not knowing anything about it.”


The EIA was conducted in 2004, after exhausting all formal channels and all possible avenues of obtaining the document; I resorted to my own means and obtained it under the table from a very scared public servant in 2006, more than two years after my initial search.


So why, you may ask, was the document so well protected?


Was there anything detrimental in those precious pages that “they” did not want a Journalist to see?


Why was the Ministry afraid to release a document that was by legislation “a public document?”


Why was the Ministry protecting the document despite Taylor's obvious approval for it to be released?


So after months and months of tracking down the report it was finally obtained and although not provided by Taylor himself he did express willingness for it to be public.

PECL “inconclusive” PEIA

The report itself is 23 pages in total and comprehensive in format however after it was viewed by a local consultant he concluded that it was “inconclusive in content.
”Conducted by Pacific Environment Consultants LTD [PECL] in 2004, the preliminary report focused on identifying environmental impacts that could possibly be linked with the hotel development.
PECL admitted the lack of information to make proper conclusions and investigations into possible effects or impacts.
It states: “The preliminary environmental impact assessment for the hotel was not able to provide a completed analysis due to the absence of finalized details, plans on the construction and operation of the hotel.”
The report however was based on preliminary plans and discussions with Stevenson.
The document identified a high potential for water, land and air pollution during the construction phase as well as during operation. The general impact of construction and operation to the environment as pointed out is low however there are areas identified that need an environmental management plan [EMP] to complement whatever damage the development may cause.
PECL states in the end that a full scale EIA will not be required and that the preliminary report is sufficient to cover the possible impacts of the development on the environment despite not having the finalised plans for the hotel.
They did recommend that the EMP is integrated into the final construction plans.
But that was not the whole story.
Coastal Hazard Zone
Newsline discovered that the Taumeasina tourist development island and surrounding area has been proven to be a Coastal Hazard Zone.
During Cyclones Ofa and Val, the whole island was under 1.5 meters of water, yet the highest point on the island is 2meters above sea level.According to a local environmentalist and researcher who did not want to be named for professional reasons the site of the development would be a risk to human life and property in the event of flooding as the area is vulnerable to storm and wave surges.“Flooding in this area would reach a 100 meters inland,” he said.
The Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment [PEIA] for the Development also refers to the hazard zone stating: “Coastal Hazards Map of Samoa as shown on Maps 2 identifies that current development site as being both a coastal erosion and flood hazard area.”The PEIA recognised that prior research and survey identified the Coastal Senility Index of the area as 31, which is considered very high and prone to “storm wave run-up of between to 2.26 to 3 meters above sea level.” “I find it hard to believe that someone would want to put so much money into an area that poses so much risk and could wash away in the next cyclone,” the environmentalist said.
According to him Samoa is due for another major cyclone as it has been more than 10 years since Ofa and Val.
“If that island was underwater during both cyclones then it is obvious that the next big storm would completely drown it as well,” he said.
Elevating the island by 3 meters above sea level would be the best solution according to the environmentalist; however he recognized that would probably defeat the purpose of the island for tourists.“That is the only way they can avoid the flooding, is by elevating that island beyond the recorded water-mark in recent floods,” he said.
Asked if he was aware of this fact Taylor said yes.“I am aware that the whole area is under coastal hazard zone and I am aware of the risk of this location,” he said.
Gordon said the island is high enough to avoid any flooding.“We have raised the island by 18ft on one corner and 12 ft on the other side.”He said the amount the island has been raised was made to withstand the last two cyclones.“We know that it has been 10 years since the last cyclone, but unless we build a mountain which we do not want to do, we are confident that the strength of our buildings can withstand floods,” Gordon said.
The Environmentalist however told Newsline that the risk to human life and damage to property is a big concern and the fact that there are no recommendations in the PEIA to prevent these from happening is surprising.According to him, only time will tell how the island will deal with flooding. Where to nextThe island has been flattened and a causeway was built to access it, however the height of the island above sea level from the shore is not more than two meters.Plans to complete the development before the SPG have certainly not come to fruition, yet it is now up for ‘joint development’ even though the developers never made this fact known.What will become of Taumeasina and the facts surrounding the recent progress in this case, a follow up will be published in the next Sunday Newsline.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Crook Alert: You have been warned


There are two kulukus doing their rounds around the pacific and elsewhere pretending to be something else,...you have been warned.

Already, they have misled many people in Samoa and have gotten away with it.


Their names are :
Ev Lubinski and Richard Rowland.


To see some of the stories regarding their dodgy dealings:


http://www.samoaobserver.ws/local/LNPages/0108/1208ln003.htm

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I want to be a domestic goddess

We've been to obsessed with moving ahead with changes and progress, so much so that I can't bake a farken cookie.


Domestic is the new black, for me that is.


I've decided to get back to the kitchen and put on my apron(when i can:-)


yeah i know, i'm pissing off all the die hard feminists and their hairy underarms and braless titties, but before you get out your dildos, hear me out.



It just occured to me that I can't bake for sh*t,

And I can't sew. (apart from hemming a ie lavalava, sad sad)


These things have taken a backseat in my loife as a Mellinium Goddess.
Imagine the species of my generators (tion), efficient in templates, superstars in mnimising images to upload, masters in buying online, but who is roasting the turkey for Christmas? Who is sewing Master 5's superman costume ?

Despite our freedoms, have we become a breed of incompetent dependents, ordering our meals from Shan Cung Pao, buying our clothes from Mao Tse Bung and eating our cakes from the Cheese Cake Factory?

I have gone full circle indeed, from being the stauch (another word of fiapots) girl power to the domestic wannabe, scared that tomorrow i'll be that lady that couldn't.
Something should be done.

I will bake my cake.

And eat it too.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

For 2008, I hope to be more organised - diarising at work, and at home more consistently.

I will travel more - to Europe and hopefully Oman/Dubai(eaither one-to see Mex)

I will make more money -by being more efficient with my time, using the systems given more effectively, paying more attention to detail, service calling, taking initiatve in product knowledge, familiarise myself with industry website processes, destinational knowledge, sell more insurance and make more money.

Can't you tell i work in sales???

I will drink less coffee, walk more, be kinder (thats a toughie), eat less chocolate, play sport, go to church at least once a month, get in touch with loved ones more by traditional means such as seeing them, or writing snail mail to them, (Bebo, Facebook doesn't count),

So, Help Me God.

Amen