Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, is adamant that the Constitution will be violated if Parliament approves the amendments proposed under the Alienation of Customary Land Amendment Bill 2017.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, he said the Government’s insistence there is nothing to worry about cannot be trusted.
His comments were in response claims by Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, that the Alienation of Customary Land Amendment Bill 2017 will not in any manner violate the Constitution.
In Parliament last week, Fiame called some Members of Parliament liars. She also accused them of being irresponsible.
Fiame did not name anyone in particular.
But Olo told the Samoa Observer that the reference was directed at him.
“I publicly said the Constitution will be violated and it is clear,” he said.
“Under the current Constitution section 102, it clearly states:
“No Alienation of Customary Land: it shall no be lawful or competent for any person to make any alienation or dispassion of customary land or of any interest in customary land by way of sale, mortgage or otherwise, howsoever, nor shall customary land or any interest therein be capable of being take in execution or be assess for the payment of debts of any person on his or her decease or insolvency: provided that an Act of Parliament may authorize
(a) granting of a lease of licensed of any customary land or of any interest therein;
(b) the taking of any customary land or any interest therein for public purposes.”
Olo said the Constitution is extremely clear.
“No matter what, Article 102 of the Constitution clearly says customary lands cannot be sold, leased of mortgaged and yet the amendment allows the government at any time to introduce a bill that can violate the law,” said Olo.
“I am merely trying to explain that under the Article 102, it says the selling is disallowed. However at the same time, it also says --provided that an Act of Parliament may authorize (a) granting of a lease of licensed of any customary land or of any interest therein; (b) the taking of any customary land or any interest therein for public purposes.
“This is my point and I want to make it clear that with the new amendments proposed by the Government, the Constitution will be violated,” he said.
“This is why me and my constituency reject this bill no matter what assurances are given by the Government.
“This is a risky bill and that is why the majority of the Members of Parliaments have raised concerns about this specific measure.”
Parliament continues today.