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Vaiusu council frustrated by meeting delays

The head of a village council says residents have asked to discuss proposed reform of the Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.), but the council cannot meet until state of emergency orders are relaxed.

Vaiusu village High Chief Ulugia Aukuso told Samoa Observer that village residents have approached him to raise the issue, but the village council cannot convene until the S.O.E. orders prohibiting the gathering of people are lifted.

“Those things won’t be discussed until the village meets but we have not met because of the pandemic restrictions, and I need to be cautious in sharing my opinion, because that is a discussion for the village so I cannot provide an opinion on behalf of the village,” he said.

“Many people have come by to see me [about this.] I now see that the restrictions have been extended for another four weeks so that means we probably won’t meet until the end of May.

Ulugia said that there are many new matters that need to be discussed by the council.

“These matters have to be taken up with the village…I think it would be best for the village to meet on the first of June,” he added.

“But that’s just what I think it has not been set.”

The Government is sponsoring three bills: the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, the Lands and Titles Bill 2020, and the Judicature Bill 2020. They were tabled in Parliament in March, and are currently undergoing a Select Committee hearing process, before they are scheduled for their third reading.

The bills, if passed by Parliament with a two-thirds majority, will result in the separation of the L.T.C. from the Supreme Court and having its own Court of Appeal. 

But Supreme Court Judges, the Law Society of Samoa, a former judge, lawyers, politicians and high profile Samoans have condemned the legislation and warned that it will make the judiciary more vulnerable to political interference.

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