Aeau stands by village's opposition to L.T.C. bills
A chief of Falealupo village, Aeau Chris Hazelman, stands by the decision of their village to oppose three bills restructuring the courts.
Aeau, who is also the Pro Chancellor of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), said more time is required for discussions on the measures, currently before Parliament.
“We are asking for further time and discussions on the matter because it’s the Constitution,” Aeau said.
The reforms would create an autonomous Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) and are contained in the Lands and Titles Bill 2020, the Judicature Bill 2020, and the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020.
Aeau pointed to loopholes in the proposed measures that require clarity.
“We want more time and discussions and there are many areas that need further clarification,” he said.
Fuiono Denina Crichton, the Paramount Chief of Falealupo, said they oppose the proposed changes - a decision that was not taken overnight.
"These are sensitive matters," Fuiono said. "The elders and all the matai met to discuss the issue. We wanted to come up with one decision. Usually, once a decision is final, no one and nothing can ever change it. So it's the same for this case.
"We know these proposed changes are a threat to what our elders fought for."
Their objection, according to Fuiono, is derived from their love and care for the future generations of Samoa.
"I speak on behalf of my village for this matter and I admit that it is not something we take lightly,” he told the Samoa Observer.
"These changes have hidden agendas. It may look shiny and attractive from the outside, but deep down, there is a hidden agenda.
"That is why we object to the changes. The government is looking at holding the power with one hand and controlling everything.
"What will happen to our future generation and our children? What we do now affects the future of our children. We are also reaping the fruits that our ancestors sow."
Fuiono went on to say that the proposed changes will affect the fa'asamoa (Samoan customs).
"It will change everything,” Fuiono said.