Support for L.T.C. changes widespread: committee chair
Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana-Gidlow, the Chairman of the Select Committee consulting the nation on proposed changes to Judiciary said many villages were supportive of the changes.
The three bills in question are the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, the Lands and Titles Court Bill 2020, and the Judicature Bill 2020. The bills have passed second reading before Parliament.
The bills will not return to Parliament until all villages have had their say, a process being overseen by the committee.
For their first week back in Upolu upon their return from hearing from villages in Savaii, Gatoloai said the first week of consultation was good.
"It is not just this week, since the beginning of our consultations, starting from when we were here before going to Savaii, it was the same support we received," said the veteran Member of Parliament.
"When we went to Savaii, there were villages that expressed opposition due to some statements which have been made by those who went there before us, but with the rest of the villages, after the Parliamentary Committee had explained where these bills came from and how they came about, they understood and gave their support."
Just as there have been many who have shown their support during consultations in their first week back in Upolu, Gatoloaifaana said, it has been the same "spirit" since the public consultations began.
The most concerning provision in the bills is the proposed change that limits the number of matai sa'o (paramount chiefs) a family can have to just five, Gatoloaifaana confirmed.
And while she said that they have noted all the concerns and recommendations given by the public, Gatoloaifaana said that the final changes are made in Parliament.
"The reason [...is that in…] the bills is that the public had asked for it before but now that they are recommending the removal of that provision, then that's the way to go," she said.
"But the final amendments to these bills are to be made in Parliament. We assess and give advice while the Parliament says ‘yes or no’.
"But the spirit of this committee and Parliament is to explain the bills and make the public understand the essence of these bills."
Starting Monday, July 27, the Select Committee will be hearing from the constituency of Faleata starting with Faleata No. 1 which include, Vaimoso, Lepea, Vaitoloa, Lotopa, Alafua, Sinamoga, Moamoa, Se'ese'e, Tuaefu and Tuanaimato.
On Tuesday, the Select Committee will meet Faleata No. 2 and No. 3 which include, Vailoa, Vaigaga, Vaiusu, Elise fou, Tulaele, Siusega, Vaitele, Vaitele fou and Saina.
A continuation of Faleata No. 3 and No. 4 will take place on Thursday where the Committee will be convening with Toamua, Puipaa, Tapatapao, Tanumapua, Talimatau and Falelauniu.