L.T.C. bills a hot topic at village council meetings

The Land and Titles Court Amendment Bill 2020 is becoming a hot topic at village council meetings with Malie village scheduling the matter for discussion next month.

The Malie village council met on Monday and was one of several village councils to have met over the Mother's Day long-weekend. 

While the L.T.C. was not discussed in detail, one matai did remind the council that the issue should be addressed, according to Malie Village Mayor Faaumausili Auimatagi Siona Tauafao in an interview with Samoa Observer.

Malie, like most if not all villages, did not convene a village council meeting for at least two consecutive months due to the restrictions on gatherings brought on by the Government-declared state of emergency (S.O.E.).

More pressing matters such as village improvements and youth issues were took up most of the time in Malie village's Monday meeting.

"As for the Land and Titles Court matter, it was raised but we did not discuss it," Faamausili said.

"We were reminded by a Land and Titles Court judge who sits in the Malie village council but we did not discuss it because we had a limited time to meet."

At least two other village councils have also told the Samoa Observer their councils would like to meet to discuss the implications of the L.T.C. bills.

Last week, Vaiusu village High Chief Ulugia Aukuso said that village residents approached him to raise the issue, but the village council could not convene due to S.O.E. orders prohibiting the gathering of people.

One matai from Falefa, Tuilaepa Soiamoa Mary Greym said the village council has been wanting to meet to discuss the L.T.C. bill and the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020. 

Reportedly, the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development issued a statement last week to announce that village councils are permitted to meet. 

While one matai from Lepea did confirm that the Ministry announced the lifting of S.O.E. restrictions to allow village council meetings, but the Samoa Observer was unable to confirm that with the Ministry.

Details of the Ministry's announcement and any meeting rules surrounding it remain unclear.

• Vaelei Von Dincklage contributed to this report 

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