More time needed on L.T.C. bills: Satalo
The village of Satalo, Falealili has pleaded with a Special Parliamentary Committee consulting on three bills to overhaul the nation’s judiciary to take its time before making recommendations.
The committee is currently soliciting public opinion on three bills to overhaul the national judiciary system by making the Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) an autonomous fourth branch of Government.
The village met the committee at Sapunaoa on Tuesday where they made the request that it take less time to conclude its consultations.
A senior matai from Satalo, Onofia Tele Taveuveu, told the Samoa Observer that the intricate aspects of the proposed legislation were not well understood.
"We did not understand anything regarding the changes behind the three bills," Onofia said.
"We only understood [its contents] today after the explanation by the Committee.
"So our opinions were based on the discussions with the committee.
“Today, we listened carefully to the explanation from the committee because we did not want to make up a decision based on stories we heard from the other villages who have made their submission to the committee.
"We were open to their discussions but at the same time, we did not want to be blinded."
Onofia said the village of Satalo was maintaining a neutral position with respect to the changes.
"There was not enough time for our village to go into [the] details [of the bills], we did not want to rush a decision,” the matai said.
"And that is what we asked the committee to do.
"We hope they (the committee) [do not] rush the report and [quickly] pass these bills.
"This is because a lot of people do not fully understand the changes behind these bills and do not know the ramifications of these changes.
“Therefore, they should give it some time, let these changes sink in the minds of the people and let them understand the bills before they (Parliament) make a final decision.
"We appreciate that they are reaching out to the villages to collect views of the community, but that is our main concern.
"They should not rush and pass these bills. They should wait until the whole country from matai down to untitled men and the youths fully understand.
The bills in question are the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020; Land and Titles Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020 and they are at the second reading stage before Parliament.
Together they would make the L.T.C. entirely self-contained and its decisions no longer subject to independent judicial review by the Supreme Court.
This is the final week for consultations before the committee reports back to Parliament.