The rejection of the new tax law by the C.C.C.S (E.F.K.S) in my own view as a Christian is definitely a right move. It is a step to the right direction for our government. The H.R.P.P. and our government will never learn a single lesson from their wrongdoings unless a powerful body such as the E.F.K.S. Church teaches them a lesson through a conflict between the “State” and “Church.” As we know about it, the conflict between the “State” and the “Church” is the current issue about the new tax law to tax Church Ministers’ earnings.
I believe the first positive outcome of the rejection of the new tax law by the E.F.K.S. Church was the first lesson for the H.R.P.P. The first lesson is the difference between the “malo vale” and the “malo tia’a.”
The other lesson will come out of the E.F.K.S. Church’s decision after its annual conference in the middle of this year. The decision by the E.F.K.S Church will reveal its purpose in Samoa, its history in Samoa, its accountability and its responsibility for the truth of God. Its existence is ensuring that the truth prevails.
Therefore without questioning, the decision by the E.F.K.S. Church will be based on the truth and facts. Some of those facts are presenting in the following lists.
List of Facts:
1) The Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa is founded on God. The narrative “Samoa is founded on God” is on the cover of the Supreme law of Samoa, the Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa.
The other narrative that is on the preamble of the Constitution presents more facts –
“IN THE HOLY NAME OF GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, THE EVER LOVING
WHEREAS sovereignty over the Universe belongs to the Omnipresent God alone, and
the authority to be exercised by the people of Western Samoa within the limits prescribed
by His commandments is a sacred heritage; WHEREAS the Leaders of Western Samoa have declared that Western Samoa should be an Independent State based on Christian principles and Samoan custom and tradition;…”
2) “WHEREAS sovereignty over the Universe belongs to the Omnipresent God alone.”
3) “the authority to be exercised by the people of Western Samoa within the limits prescribed by His commandments is a sacred heritage.”
4) “WHEREAS the Leaders of Western Samoa have declared that Western Samoa should be an Independent State based on Christian principles and Samoan custom and tradition;…”
Christian principles in the Bible offers more facts – (Hebrews 7:5) “And in deed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham.” (Hebrews 7: 12) “For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.”
5) “the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law”
6) “For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.”
It is crystal clear according to (Hebrews 7:5) the priesthood and tithes are “commandments” and “laws” of God. Add to that Scripture is the declaration on the preamble of the Constitution. It says in our Constitution, “WHEREAS sovereignty over the Universe belonged to the Omnipresent God alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Western Samoa within the limits prescribed by His commandments is a sacred heritage…” In other words, the authority of God is sovereign but Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s authority is limited. The commandments and the law of God is the limit of the authority of man.
The authority of man cannot change the commandments and the law of God. Only God can change his commandments and his law according to His own will. The proof is in the same book of Hebrews and the book of Matthew. (Hebrews 7: 12) “For the priesthood being changed of necessity there is also a change of the law.” Priesthood was set specifically on the tribe of Levi but was changed in the times of Jesus. Jesus was a priest from the tribe of Judah which means the changing of priesthood was started from Jesus. (Matthew 5:17) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill”
The Law and Prophets that Jesus fulfilled are facts. In other words, those accounts from the New Testament can lead us to more and more facts about prophecies, God’s commandments and God’s law in the Old Testament. Those are facts. God’s commandments and God’s law are not philosophies or traditions of man.
God’s commandments and God’s law are Christian principles. So for those who do not understand the spiritual side of God’s law, it does not matter if we are not tribes of Levi and Judah but it says in our Constitution, “WHEREAS the Leaders of Western Samoa have declared that Western Samoa should be an Independent State based on Christian principles and Samoan custom and tradition;…”
7) Cabinet Handbook 2011
After going through all the pages of the Cabinet Handbook 2011, I have found out, there are key procedures that should have been followed by the Cabinet and government for making proposals in relation to the new tax law have not been followed by the Cabinet and government on two separate occasions. That is before and after enactment of the new tax law to tax Church Ministers’ earnings.
Procedures in the Cabinet Handbook 2011 –
“Ministers would be enabled to make policy decisions that are well-informed and consistent with Government’ overall strategic objectives and priorities. This is because Ministers will be presented with Cabinet papers through which, as summarized in paragraph 0.4 below, individual Ministers and their Ministries are to provide full, accurate and necessary facts and detailed analysis of their proposals to support their recommendations on policy options and action strategies.”
“The Cabinet Handbook provides guidelines to all Ministries to assist them in improving the quality of their policy submissions to Cabinet. This includes the clarity of the purpose; the accuracy and preciseness of supporting background information; a clear identification of the key issues involved; the comprehensiveness and thoroughness of objective analysis of all these issues; the completeness of the consultations which, of necessity, must be carried out beforehand with all the Ministries directly involved and with sectors in the wider community that may be impacted upon; the clear and precise statement of the recommendations in a lucid, practical and action-oriented manner to facilitate the implementation of Cabinet decisions by the Ministries concerned; and the on-time delivery of the submission to the Secretary to Cabinet before 12 noon on Friday before the Cabinet meeting on the following Wednesday. To ensure all these, Cabinet has placed special responsibility upon all Ministry Chief Executive Officers [C.E.O.’s] to oversee and co-ordinate both the preparation and on-time delivery of the Ministry’s submissions to Cabinet, and also the speedy and effective implementation of the Cabinet decisions thereon.”
“2.8 On papers for discussion and decision, the following are matters which Ministers and their Ministries must bring to the Cabinet:
1. Major policy issues to allow Cabinet to set clear direction on policies and strategies for individual Ministries and the Government as a whole.
2. Proposals requiring legislation in the form of a new enactment by Parliament, amendments to existing legislation, or enabling regulations.
3. Any developments relating to the maintenance of law and order and national security.
4. Any developments that impact on Samoa’s society and its Christian religious and cultural and customary traditions.”
“2.10 In Cabinet, a Minister may verbally raise under “Other Business” current or emerging issues of public and political interest. Cabinet does not make decision on matters raised orally. The rule remains that on any significant issue that involves government policy a written submission must be made to the Cabinet. However, it is very helpful to keep colleagues informed on matters of concern to the people. A Minister who wishes to raise an issue under this item must notify the Prime Minister beforehand either directly or through the Secretary to Cabinet. If a Minister seeks a Cabinet decision on any such issue, the Minister concerned must submit a written submission or memorandum in the usual manner”
ISSUES AND ANALYSIS
“3.14 This is the main analytical part of the paper. The specific issues to be considered are highlighted. An analysis is then undertaken of each, to identify the best option for policy and follow up action. The constitutionality and legality, the cost/benefit, the wider socio/economic and cultural and natural environment impact, and the inherent risks of each option, are each evaluated and assessed.”
PROPOSALS REQUIRING LEGISLATION
“3.18 A Ministry which requires legislation either in the form of a new legislative enactment or an amendment Bill by Parliament, or new or amended Regulations by Cabinet, should discuss their proposal in the first instance with the Office of the Attorney-General. With the A.G.’s support, the Ministry concerned should then make a submission to the Cabinet for approval for the drafting of such legislation.
The focus in this first submission is on the policies to be pursued or implemented through this proposed legislative action The Ministry must clearly explain to Cabinet the various possible options for achieving the objectives of the policy initiative and why legislative action is considered the most feasible and efficacious option. If approval is given, the Secretary to Cabinet will convey Cabinet’s approval both to the responsible Minister and the CEO and also to the A-G for drafting to proceed.”
“3.19 The second stage of the process is when the drafting is completed and the Office of the Attorney-General convenes a meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of the originating and other interested Ministries and Agencies to scrutinise the draft and make final preparations for the presentation to Cabinet by the originating Minister.”
“3.20 The submission to the Cabinet must be accompanied by the draft Bill or Regulations and a certificate of confirmation by the Attorney-General that the proposed Bill or Regulations has been vetted and cleared by his Office. In addition, as already stated, the submission to Cabinet must also include a draft second reading explanation of the policy objectives of the Bill, to be used by the sponsoring Minister. For draft Regulations, a draft public explanation of the Regulations must be included in the submission to Cabinet for endorsement by Cabinet.”
IMPORTANCE OF CONSULTATION
“3.21 The importance of consulting all relevant Ministries and stakeholders is again re-iterated here. The Secretary to Cabinet is under firm instruction from the Prime Minister not to accept a submission for a Cabinet meeting unless the Ministry concerned has undertaken all necessary consultations and the outcomes of these are clearly stated.
“ Attorney-General’s Office
3.22 If constitutional questions or legal issues are involved, or if legal advice is required, in the course of the preparation of a submission to Cabinet the Office of the Attorney- General must be consulted and the advice or opinion tendered should be stated in the submission or attached to it.”
8) Standing Orders for Parliament
All members of Cabinet including the Prime Minster, they did not comply with the “Standing Orders” for Parliament in relation to the Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa as listed below. In the same way, all members of Parliament who have been agreed with the law to tax Church Ministers earnings, they did not comply with “Standing Orders” for Parliament.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
“It is the personal responsibility of every Member of Parliament to maintain the highest standards of ethical behaviour to protect and maintain integrity of Parliament and to make every endeavour to uphold the principles of the Constitution.”
“The following principles are intended to provide guidance to, and standards against which each Member of Parliament, individually and collectively should discharge their duties and responsibilities.”
“(1) Loyalty to the nation and its people:
Every member shall uphold the contents of the Oath of Allegiance at all time and maintain the dignity and integrity of the Independent State of Samoa; its institutions and its people.”
“(2) Respect for the Law:
Every member shall uphold the laws of Samoa and safeguard the principles contained in the Constitution.”
“(3) Respect for all Persons:
Every member shall treat other members, the public and officials with respect and dignity, honestly, fairly; and acting with integrity at all times.”
The requirement for making of policies as mentioned above shows that the entire new tax law to tax Church Ministers’ earnings should have never been established due to it being built on a false premise. In other words, the Cabinet, the Parliament and government, they did not follow their own policies and procedures and as a result, they ignored facts and their sources.
As a consequence of that situation, the bill for the new tax law became a serious issue to the people of our country and Churches such as Methodist and E.F.K.S. Despite of the availability of facts and their sources and despite of the strong rejection of the bill from the public and Churches based on facts and the truth, nothing works to change the plans of the H.R.P.P. None of any of those things stops the power of the H.R.P.P party from pursuing of its goals according to its political agenda. They went ahead and passed that bill into law illegally.
However, the enactment of the new tax law did not affect the rejection of the new tax law by the C.C.C.S (E.F.K.S) because it is wrong. The E.F.KS has already made an official move about that situation through a letter to prove its position to the H.R.P.P, Parliament and our government. It tells us that the new tax law is still an unsolved issue and it also tells us that the defending of the truth by the E.F.K.S is the right move. That is the same position that the H.R.P.P and Parliament must changed its old position for before and after enactment considering the procedures in Cabinet Handbook 2011 and Standing Orders for Parliament that should have been followed in the first place but they did not follow those procedures. That is the right move the H.R.P.P and Parliament should have made in the beginning before they passed the new tax bill into law.
According to the specifications in the Cabinet Handbook that are pointing directly to any issues, therefore the Cabinet and Parliament are the right parties that should have made the first move about the issue but not the parties that are rebelling against the new tax law. They are the ones that are supposed to make the first move by listening to the voice of the country and take the country’s argument into consideration. The purpose of the Cabinet’s existence and the government’s existence is to serve the country according to the right standard but not the setting up of defenses against the country to defend untruths.
Nanai Malonuu Lealaiauloto Nofoaiga