Aopo supports L.T.C. bills

By Soli Wilson 17 July 2020, 7:18PM

The Aopo village from Savai’i has expressed their support for three bills proposing the wholesale reform of the country’s judiciary, the Prime Minister,  Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi says. 

During his weekly 2AP programme on Thursday, Tuilaepa said he had a confrontation with the village;s chiefs on Thursday afternoon.

But that was originally regarding their concerns about the boundaries of the village and its neighbours.

But Tuilaepa said after thorough discussions, the issue was resolved and the village also conveyed their support for the three bills which will create an autonomous Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.).

The Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Court Bill 2020 and Judicature Bill 2020 would create an autonomous Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) as a separate judicial branch. 

 “[Aopo] village also delivered their strong support for the three bills proposed by the Government and their appreciation for all the developments by the Government,” he said.

The bills are at the second reading stage of Parliament and are the subject of a Parliamentary Special Committee seeking public feedback on their impact. 

Aopo joins a few villages in Savaii to have openly declared support for the bills, along with Iva and Saipipi.

Gagaifomauga No. 3 Member of Parliament for Aopo, Faaulusau Rosa Duffy-Stowers, could not be reached for a comment on Friday.

But speaking to the Samoa Observer, Gagaifomauga No. 3's other representative, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, revealed Aopo's position on the proposed bills is separate from the rest of the constituency.

"My villages of Sasina, Letui and Fagae'e have opposed the bills," he said.

"We do not put them together, they are a separate part of my constituency.”

The number of villages who expressed their support and opposition is yet to be made public.

Public consultations in Savaii were completed last week.

The Special Parliamentary Committee was told that the bills would not return to Parliament for the third reading unless a Special Parliamentary Committee hears from villagers throughout the country.

The Legislative Assembly Clerk, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei, said the Select Committee heard from more than 50 villages in Savai’i while Upolu will begin soon.

He said the most opposed amendment by the villagers is the provision to limit the number of matai Sao (high chiefs) to five per family.

However, Tuilaepa has said that nothing is set in stone yet for the three bills noting the crucial role of the public consultations which.

Such things are "easy to alter", he said previously.

"This is why consultations are important. This is where it shows how wrong the announcements have been from those who do not understand and those trying to deceive (the country).”


By Soli Wilson 17 July 2020, 7:18PM

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