By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: Monday 20 August 2012: The village of Moata’a is awaiting a response from the Ali’i ma Faipule of Magiagi whether they have accepted their advise to accept the governments decision of switching to prepaid electricity or cash power.
Asi Tuiataga Blakelock of Moata’a told Talamua that they have met with Ali’i ma Faipule of Vaiala and representatives of Magiagi last week and have asked the Alii ma Faipule of Magiagi to consider a peaceful resolution to the problem. As of press time, Asi said “we still have not received any formal word from the Ali’i ma Faipule of Magiagi to our request.”
Asi said that the village has to consider the consequences of a power cuts especially when there are elderly people and children involved. He believed that one village alone cannot change any decisions made by the Government of the day.
Magiagi representatives at the meeting included Mataipule Fiso and several other matais. Mataipule did confirm that a decision has been reached.
“Our decision shall be delivered to the Prime Minister soon,” Mataipule told Talamua.
The dispute between the village and government dates back to the late seventies when the government used part of the village land for hydro power development and the village claimed free electricity. The cash power issue is seen as an attempt to get around the free electricity and Magiagi blocked the road and EPC workers from accessing the hydro power station.
The roadblock was removed last week and a meeting was called between Magiagi, Moataa and Vaiala who traditionally belong to one village.
Government has threatened to cut off the electricity power supply to the village after they refused to switch to cash power.
The village is claiming an agreement they believed was made between the village and the management of the Electric Power Corporation in 1983, when the village lands were used for the government electricity projects. Years later, Magiagi enjoyed free electricity following a standoff with EPC. The village did not ask for compensation for their lands but free electricity.