Falealupo opposes L.T.C. Bills

The village of Falealupo Savai’i is preparing to inform the Special Parliamentary Committee, dealing with three bills that propose to reshape the judiciary and the Land and Titles Court, that they oppose the planned changes.

The decision by the village to reject the Lands and Titles Bill 2020, the Judicature Bill 2020, and the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 comes as a result of extensive discussions by the residents and the Village Council.

The position of the village was confirmed by Falealupo village’s senior orator, Fuiono Denina Crichton, during an interview with the Samoa Observer at the village.

He said their decision to oppose the proposed changes was not something they decided on overnight.

"These are sensitive matters," Fuiono said. "The elders and all the matai met to discuss the issue. We wanted to come up with one decision. Usually, once a decision is final, no one and nothing can ever change it. So it's the same for this case. 

"We know these proposed changes are a threat to what our elders fought for."

Their objection, according to Fuiono, is derived from their love and care for the future generation of Samoa.

"I speak on behalf of my village for this matter and I admit that it is not something we take lightly,” he told the Samoa Observer. "These changes have hidden agendas. It may look shiny and attractive from the outside, but deep down, there is a hidden agenda.

"That is why we object to the changes. The government is looking at holding the power with one hand and controlling everything. 

"What will happen to our future generation and our children? What we do now affects the future of our children. We are also reaping the fruits that our ancestors sow." 

Fuiono went on to say that the proposed change that highlights the right of an individual against the village council will affect the fa'asamoa.

"It will cause what we use in boxing, a T.K.O (technical knockout) to our fa'a-matai and fa'a-Samoa. It will change everything."

In the past few weeks since the public consultations started in Savai'i, support for the bills continues to grow. Some villages had a change of heart after the meeting with the Parliamentary Committee that was leading the public consultation.

But it is something that Fuiono says is unlikely to happen for their village. 

"As I said before, once we decide on something, nothing can ever change the decision we make,”he emphasised. "So if we meet with the Committee, no one will dare go against what has already been decided for the whole village. It's not easy, and the matai have already agreed to oppose so there's no turning back.” 

"The main concern for us is that this will come back and hurt us in the future. 

"The people behind these changes are so cunning and they are very smart. If we say yes to the changes, they will turn around and say it is our fault if something goes wrong in the future. Although they came up with the changes, once it will have faults in the future, they will turn around and say, it was us who agreed to these changes. 

"That is why we are strongly against the changes proposed. For the sake of our children; for the peace and well-being of our future generation, Falealupo says no!

"This is a big village, but we will all go together in unity come the day when we meet with the Committee and make our submission and that is to reject the bills."

The public consultations by the Parliamentary Committee continues this week in Savai'i. Falealupo is meeting up with the Committee on Wednesday and it is the last week of public consultations for Savai'i, before it moves to Upolu. 

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