P.M. keen to push on with L.T.C. Bills, claims 'major support'

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi is keen to push on with three bills to restructure the judiciary, saying feedback during Special Parliamentary Committee hearings on Upolu and Savai’i show major support.

Speaking during the Taimi ma le Palemia program on Father’s Day evening, Tuilaepa said all villages and districts in Upolu have expressed their support for the three bills and the “majority” in Savai’i are also backing the proposed changes.

“The astonishing news [about L.T.C.] here in Tumua [Upolu] is that everyone has accepted the bills,” he said during the program.

“Some of the consultations in my knowing were interrupted by the elders, before they even started saying they already understood.

“It’s what should’ve been done a long time ago and we should do it without any more postponement so these people [old men] very well understand this.

“Also in Savai’i, only a few districts were against the bills but [the] majority of them in Savai’i were supportive.”

Samoa Observer understands that not all villages in Upolu have expressed support for the three bills: the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, the Land and Titles Court Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020.

They include Vaimoso village which has issues with certain provisions of the bills and has recommended that they be changed.

Vaimoso High Chief and spokesperson, Manuleleua Talitau Tovale, said the village carefully studied the bills before they appeared before the Special Parliamentary Committee, which is currently soliciting public feedback on the proposed changes.

He said a contentious provision of the proposed bills that the village has expressed concern about is the limiting the number of matai sa'o [high chiefs] in a family.

The Special Parliamentary Committee, in response to the villagers’ concerns, said the provisions relating to the limit on the number of the matai sa'o a family can have will be removed from the final bills.

Vaimoso was the first village to meet with the Committee on Monday as public consultations continued in Upolu. 

The three bills are currently in the second stage of reading in the Legislative Assembly and are expected to be returned to the House's agenda for the third reading in the next sitting later this month.

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