C.C.C.S. General Secretary personally opposes L.T.C. change
The General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.), is personally against plans to overhaul the nation's judiciary, while stressing the church itself is yet to take a stance.
Reverend Vavatau Taufao told the Samoa Observer that the annual meeting of the C.C.C.S. has not convened for 2020 and so has been unable to meet and discuss the bills.
“I can’t talk on behalf of the Church because the Church hasn’t met. I think you should all know that we haven’t had our Fonotele yet so I’m not sure that I can say there is no official stance because we haven’t met,” Rev. Taufao said.
“I think it’s more appropriate to say that the Church has not met as we usually do in the Fonotele so the Church has no official stance.”
However, Rev. Taufao did share his personal opinion on the matter.
“I’ve read the bills. Personally, I don’t support many things in the bills. Looking at them [the bills], I’m quite against it,” he said.
“I’ve talked to one of the lawyers who was present for the signing of the bills and he said the bills seek to incorporate the culture but the way I am seeing it, it’s not – a lot of the culture will be needlessly dismantled.”
Rev. Taufao objects to various points in the bills such as the limitation of one sa’o per family.
“For example, they want to limit the number of sa’o in a family. Why would the law supersede a family’s decision on the number of sa’o?,” he said.
Rev. Vavatau also objects to the requirement that any saofa’i (bestowment ceremony) would need to be validated in the presence of the village mayor while there is already a village council.
“The sui o le nu’u [village mayor] is actually a representative of the Government because he is employed by the government,” he added.
“But the saofa’i belongs to the village.”
As a church member, Rev. Vavatau says the bills will have an irreversible and devastating impact on the church in the country but especially on the churches located outside of Samoa.
“It’s not just here but we are also looking at outside of Samoa…recall, that this is the social structure that is exported and used to build up the churches, to establish the churches and unify the churches,” he said.
“This will dismantle the social structure of Samoa. The dismantling of the social structure in Samoa will eventually be transferred outside of Samoa.”
Rev. Vavatau reiterated that he cannot speak on behalf of the church because they have not met yet but the views on the bills are his own.
Given sufficient time, Rev. Vavatau does plan to attend the Select Parliamentary Committee meetings when they visit his village of Piu, Falealili.
“I am quite busy with church business and church meetings,” he said. “But I hope I have time because I would love to go.”