Salelologa chief urges Govt. to be considerate

A senior matai of Salelologa, Savai'i, has urged the Government to be considerate with their plan to overhaul the Judiciary in Samoa, by introducing a Lands and Titles Court independent of other Courts.

Taotua Ioane Matamua said that while Salelologa is always supportive of the Government, such support does not mean they will not speak up if they see that "something is not right."

"Our village always supports the government and the work they do," said Taotua.

"We never back out or go against the government. However, when it comes to sensitive matters that has an impact on the country as a whole, or when we see that something is off, we have to say something. For instance, the three bills that’s been the most debatable issue during the the past few weeks."

The three bills Taotua was referring to are the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, the Lands and Titles Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020. They have been referred to a Special Parliamentary Committee tasked to hear public submissions.

"Salelologa has to say something to our leaders," said Taotua. 

The message according to Taotua, is that our leaders need to "think hard before they come up with a final decision."

"This is because what they decide now, will affect our children tomorrow," said Taotua. 

"Just like how we benefited from the sacrifices, hard work of our ancestors. The freedom we enjoy now is the result of the commitment and wise decisions made by our forefathers."

In saying that, Taotua articulated that they are against the three bills that have been brought before Parliament. 

"Our Constitution (fa'avae) was woven neatly and very fitting to go with our customs and values. Those who made our foundation clearly did not come up with the Constitution overnight.

"I don’t know if they went to school or not, but our Constitution was born out of their hearts and souls for our country. And we should not depart from it. This provided a solid foundation for us and led to over 50 years of freedom and peace for our country.

"That, in our opinion should be enough reason why we should not change our constitution. It (Constitution) is what we refer to as the rock of salvation (papa ole olataga). Nothing and no one can destroy it and we should never move away from it.

"Our country is founded on God, and we should ask God first before we make any decision.

"As for the bills, we don’t support them.

"The High Chief (matai sa’o) of each family is responsible for looking after their lands and titles or what we refer to as measina. They make the decision on how land is divided among his family members based on their tautua (service)."


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