Savaia Lefaga undecided on L.T.C. change

The village of Savaia Lefaga said they had not reached an agreed perspective on bills before Parliament that propose the overhaul of the country’s judicial system, a Special Parliamentary Committee heard on Thursday.  

The three bills propose to separate the Land and Titles Court from the Criminal Court – among other monumental changes – that have drawn criticism from some senior members of the legal fraternity. 

The bills in question are the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020. They are at the second reading stage before the Legislative Assembly.

A Special Parliamentary Committee currently soliciting public opinion on the three bills that would enable the change, Savaia offered recommendations for the Committee to consider.

But according to the village chief, Tusani Iosefatu Reti,  Savaia could not decide whether or not to accept the bills as Thursday was their first time seeing copies of the bills.

"It was a good meeting [with the Parliamentary Committee] as each matai individually [present] was able to voice their opinions. We did not try to wrap up all thoughts into one," he said.

"We gave the chance to each one of them to ask questions and give recommendations they saw fit."

The biggest issue the majority of the village raised was the proposed limit on the number of paramount chiefs a family can have.

"We had mostly asked questions in regards to this regarding the need for such a law and requested for them to maybe leave this up to the villages and families to decide," said Tusani.

"And the Committee did clarify and noted down the recommendations given."

Tusani said the most important thing is that the village chiefs were able to hear the proposed changes straight from the Government and understand why these changes are being done.

"So when we [left] yesterday, the old men had mostly grasped and understood the bills and that's the most important part,” he said. 

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