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Manono awaits L.T.C. Bills consultation

Manono has begun preparations for the Special Parliamentary Committee’s visit to discuss three bills that propose to restructure the Judiciary and make the Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) autonomous.

The Mayor of Faleu Uta and Tai villages, Lesa Tominiko, told the Samoa Observer that the people are looking forward to the Committee’s visit to the island. 

“I know every village would have the same feeling as our villagers feel. Us not taking this for granted is us fearing for our future generations with our lands, customs and traditions,” he said. 

“I also acknowledge the initiative by the Government to consult with the villages which is something they should’ve done way before.”

A village council meeting was convened last Saturday at Faleu-uta village’s fale fono with one of the matai from the island, Seumaalii Magia, saying most of his peers in both villages were anxious to hear of the proposed changes. 

“Especially to a village like us, where it’s isolated from the mainland, where all the information is coming from,” he said. “We felt that we were blinded by the Government with these bills on purpose, but knowing that we’ll soon have a consultation with the Government, we’re glad and we look forward to it.”

However, Mr Tominiko is unsure when the Committee’s consultation on Manono will occur, while acknowledging that it is important to the island’s residents as most of the issues facing families are related to their land and titles.

“As you see, the traditions, customs and culture here in Manono are very heavy and strictly carried out by its residents and if these things are not clearly understood by the families, we will end up doing things unclearly,” he said. “That’s why it’s better for us to have these deep discussions with the lawyers, who are members of our villages, to define what the bills are and how it applies to the customs and traditions of our village.”

The villages are keen to give the Committee an informed response when the consultation process gets underway, the Mayor added. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi last week assured that the three Bills will not return to Parliament unless the Committee hears the views of all villagers throughout the country including representations from the village councils in Upolu, Savai'i, Apolima and Manono.

The Bills in question are the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020.

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