Parliament session postponement queried

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene 29 September 2018, 12:00AM

Salega East’s Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, has questioned the decision by the Legislative Assembly to defer Parliament’s next session until Friday 5 October 2018.

Speaking to the Weekend Observer yesterday, Olo claimed the decision was made to await Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who is in New York, to return to Samoa.

This shouldn’t be happening, he said, since there is an Acting Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and the majority of Members of Parliament who can carry the session. 

Parliament has not sat since June when the budget was discussed and passed. The next session was scheduled to start next Tuesday 2 October 2018.

But a public notice signed by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, confirmed the postponement. 

“Pursuant to Article 52 of the Constitution and Standing order 170(g)(ii), I hereby issue this notice that the Parliamentary sitting is scheduled for Tuesday, 2nd October 2018 is now deferred until Friday, 5th October 2018,” it reads.

Contacted for a comment yesterday, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Sefuiva Charlene Malele, said there is nothing to comment on.

 “What kind of comment do you want,” she said. “The warrant by the Head of States has already been issued so I have no comment.”

But Olo is not impressed.

“The scheduling of Parliament’s next session has already been officially passed inside Parliament,” Olo told the Weekend Observer.

“The Prime Minister is responsible for the delaying of the Parliament session which is not his responsibility. This is the responsibility of the Speaker as well as the Deputy Speaker of the House.

“When we look at this, all members of Parliament are available, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and all Members of Parliament, are all available. “

“The number we have exceeds the number we need for a quorum and therefore the Parliament session should proceed.”

Olo said it seems like the Prime Minister is controlling Parliament. 

 “To me, it appears there is no independence of the three pillars of government; Executive, Parliament and Judiciary.

“And this proves my point earlier this year when I said the Prime Minister’s salary should increase because he is heading two of the three pillars, the Executive and Parliament.”

Olo said this saddens him. He questioned the Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament.

“Does this mean Tuilaepa does not think his Cabinet as well as Members of Parliament are capable of holding the Parliament session?

“If this is the case, then he might as well take away the Parliament and let the executive decide on everything. Jesus and Olo are not very happy with this.”

Olo said Parliament should not have been postponed just because one man cannot make it.

“If he is sick then I think he should go and have a rest but let Parliament proceed with its normal sessions,” he said. “There are 47 members who are here and available on this day.”

Olo also questioned the notice signed by the Head of State.

“Under the law, he is the one who advises the Head of States, therefore this decision is not from the Head of State,” said Olo.

“He should discuss the matter with the Head of State and provide valid reasons on why Parliament will be postponed then the Head of States signs the notice.”

Olo added that Tuilaepa is indeed the “sifi”.

“In every country of the world, the postponement of any Parliamentary session comes from the Speaker of the House.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa is overseas and could not be contacted for a comment.

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene 29 September 2018, 12:00AM

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