Tautua promises to abolish L.T.C. changes
The Tautua Samoa Political Party has assured that they will overturn a policy to overhaul the Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.), if they win the 2021 General Election.
The three bills in question include, the three bills in question are the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Bill 2020, and the Judicature Bill 2020.
The Tautua Samoa’s opposition to the move to make the Lands and Titles Courts independent was revealed last week. The party said they do not believe that justice can be revealed by two separate courts.
Tautua Samoa’s leader, Luagalau Dr. Afualo Salele, used a biblical analogy to say the judiciary cannot serve two masters, only one.
Although to ensure the abolishment of the three bills, Luagalau said:
“First things first we need to win elections and be able to lead the country.
“Our observation tells us that the Prime Minister had solidified their decision to pass these bills, which means all these works surrounding the bills are in vain.
“But should the country put their faith in us, we will stand to prepare proper parliamentary processes to stop and recall the law. Because we clearly have different views from the current Government.”
Afualo assured that not only would they abolish but they would also see to it that they address the 30 recommendations which have been outlined in the L.T.C. Special Inquiry report.
One of the major proposed changes to Lands and Titles Courts criticised by the political party is the granting of power to the Judiciary Service Commission to remove a Judge from office.
Currently, under the Constitution, a Supreme Court Judge can only be removed by a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament.
But if the changes are approved, the executive arm of Government will now have the authority to remove a Judge.
The President of the Samoa Law Society, Leiataualesa Komisi Koria, has stated that such a significant change to the security of the Judge's tenure is dangerous.
The majority of those sitting on the Judiciary Service Commission compose officials appointed by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
As an alternative, Afualo has proposed that Members of Parliament not be elected into this Judiciary Service Commission but to have a representative from the National Council of Churches instead.
“We do not support having a Minister on the Judicial Service Commission but have someone from the National Council of Churches in the Committee as an alternative,” said Afualo.
“This ensures that the Judicial Committee is free from any political motives in the judiciary arm. Having an M.P. in the Committee is a stain on impartiality.
“We are aiming for justice, but should these representatives be seen in the Committee there is no doubt that justice in decisions delivered is being tainted.”
Afualo highlighted that even communist countries only follow the framework of having one Supreme Court, questioning why the Government is pushing for such changes.
Samoa Lawyers Society President Leiataualesa has said every Samoan benefits from having a justice system that would be fair and impartial.
“We have that protection now because we have a strong and independent judiciary and all of our Judges swear to carry out their duties without fear and without favour that is in the judiciary oath,” he said.
Due to such looming changes to the Judiciary, Afualo has revealed that they are awaiting a date to appear before the Parliamentary Committee conducting a Commission of Inquiry on the proposed bills.