Official opening of new Parliament House today

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia - Ah Tong 14 March 2019, 12:00AM

The newly constructed Parliament House at Mulinuu will be officially opened and handed over to the Government of Samoa today. 

The opening ceremony will be conducted by the Deputy Chairman of the National Council of Churches, Reverend Isoli Iuli. 

Some of the special guests invited to attend the event include the Head of State, Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, Council of Deputies, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and an Australian government delegation led by Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Anne Ruston. 

The project is jointly funded by the government of Australia and the government of Samoa symbolizing the long standing partnership between the governments. 

According to the Legislative Assembly, Sergeant at Arms, Luaitalolelei Setema Lefaoseu the ceremony will mark the official handing over of the new Parliament House from Australia to the Government of Samoa. 

It is expected the next parliament sitting – which is scheduled for next Tuesday – will be held inside the new chamber, added Luaitalolelei. 

Some of the Office of the Legislative Assembly staff were at work at Mulinuu yesterday making final preparations and setting up tents for the big event today.  

The new Parliament House reflects a Samoan meeting fale with the chamber ceiling inspired by the native teuila flower. The new chamber features several visual and security cameras and the inside floor being 2.4 feet deeper. The project involved rebuilding the iconic chamber to resemble the original 1972 building which includes members seating, speaker’s podium, hansard area, public gallery and government, speakers meeting room and translation and a press area. 

The new Parliament House was designed and managed by the Manteena Company of Australia and its team of consultants with the workmanship being undertaken by local contractor, Craig Construction Limited.  

During Samoa’s 50th Independence celebrations in 2012 the Government of Australia announced a gift for Samoa by funding a new Parliament House. In August 2015 the final sitting of the XV parliament was held at the old parliament house before it was demolished together with the old Office of the Legislative Assembly. 

Since then the Office of the Legislative Assembly relocated to the Tofilau Eti Building then later to the Tuanaimato gym. Parliament proceedings were being held at its makeshift place of Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi convention center and Tuanaimato gym. 

At the time staff of the Legislative Assembly were tasked with setting up parliament in its temporary place by transporting chairs, desks and files to the location. The L.A. office has since moved back to the Tofilau Eti Building near the new parliament house. Australia has recently announced funding a new Legislative Assembly office as part of Samoa’s new parliament house project. 

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia - Ah Tong 14 March 2019, 12:00AM

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