Immigration arrival card needs to be reviewed

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia - Ah Tong

The passenger arrival declaration card issued by the Samoa Immigration Office to visitors travelling to Samoa needs to be reviewed. 

So says lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu. 

Unasa pointed out that any previous conviction against anyone is a private matter.

Her comments followed a matter where she is representing a client before the District Court charged for false declaration made in the arrival card.   

“It's ridiculous what some of these questions (on the arrival card) ask,” said Unasa. 

“it asks you about your marriage status and I would say to that none of your business. These are private matters so is someone’s previous conviction on whatever the accusations are. It has been dealt with and it is none of anyone’s business, if anything it is prejudice to prejudge the person.”

According to the lawyer there needs to be a line drawn between what is private matter and what is required by the law from its citizen. 

She pointed out not everything asked in the arrival card should be answered. 

“It is better to look at it from an eye and see what sort of question that creates prejudice against a person because when you create prejudice it breaches rights of that person.” 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo was contacted for a comment through an email last week. 

In response, the C.E.O. said he is on official duty travel and asked if the matter could be hold until he returns home. 

Last week, Talelei Pauga appeared before the District Court charged with false declaration made on an arrival card. 

It is alleged he did not declare he had previous convictions. He is due to appear again today. 

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia - Ah Tong

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