Looking forward to the exercise of true Independence of the Court in Samoa

The dismissal of the President of the Land and Titles Court by letter signed by the Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa – and recognised by the Court via the formal oath ceremony that followed to install an already retired Senior Judge to become President of the Land and Titles Court – ignores the constitutional provision that only Parliament on a 2/3rd majority can dismiss the President of the Land and Titles Court and the Chief Justice. 

 This is another example of a Government that ignores the Rule of Law. 

Now the Constitution is breached in TWO ways: firstly, the Judge who is the new President is disqualified in age and secondly, the PM has illegally taken over the role of Parliament. 

 It seems she has also controlled the Judiciary.

In 2020, the late Chief Justice, Patu Tiavasue Falefatu Sapolu, requested me as PM to amend the Constitution to raise the retirement age of Judges from 62 to 68 to allow those above 62 to continue to serve the Judiciary until 68 yrs. 

Patu himself retired when he reached 68 years. It was a wise suggestion. HRPP had the 2/3rd majority in the House and we approved the amendment. 

The new President that was sworn in retired several years ago.

This latest episode reminds me of the historical deportation case in 1982 of Ms Falema’i Lesā a Samoan over-stayer in New Zealand. 

The NZ Government won in the lower Court, the Supreme Court and the Appeal Court in NZ, that Ms Lesā be deported back to Samoa. 

The final Court in NZ in 1982 was the Privy Council in the UK and Lesā with her defence lawyers, led by Dr George Barton, appealed the case for the Privy Council’s decision.

 It took only 8 minutes of deliberations as reported and the Privy Council handed down its decision. 

Ms Lesā was deemed a NZ citizen by virtue of a law which entitled every Samoan born between 1929 to 1949 to be citizens of New Zealand. The impact of this decision was immediate.

The Parliament of New Zealand moved quickly to unanimously squash the law that was still in the law books to deprive (the whole population of Samoa in 1982) of their citizenships right. 

But they then co-opted the leader of our Government Va’ai Kolone to sign the protocol which allows an annual quota of 1100 Samoans to enter NZ to become citizens. 

Those Samoans in New Zealand at the time would automatically become NZ citizens. That is the background to the quota of 1100 Samoans emigrating to NZ every year.

To the ordinary Samoans this decision by the Privy Council was seen in simplicity terms that the Judges in NZ were all stupid, and the Judges in the UK were very wise. 

Judges were also humans. They can be utterly wrong and they can also commit illegal actions. And we cannot blame what our ordinary people think and say then. Samoans today are all educated. The silent majority are watching and take note. 

It is the reason that more and more highly qualified and educated Samoans are entering Politics. That is a good sign. Good leadership is sorely needed to lead our country.

Since Samoa became independent, we have all been told that the Constitution of Samoa is the highest Law of the Land. Any Law which contravenes any provision of the Constitution is automatically nullified. 

The last Parliament of Samoa had already dealt with a Constitutional challenge requiring a two thirds majority vote in Parliament and despite Fiame’s effort to influence the vote of Parliamentarians at the time. 

The motion which I moved failed to get the necessary two thirds majority support although Government won. 

As MPs, once the constitutional processes have been satisfied that is the end of the matter and the Government must move on. 

But Fiame continues to pursue a personal vendetta for reasons that are well understood.

Failing to get a two-thirds majority, a direct unconstitutional sacking order needs to be taken with the help of a respected legal mind to give it the appearance of credibility.

What is overlooked is that the creation of an illegal way to sack the President of the Land and Titles Court, can also be used to sack the Chief Justice and other Judges the PM may want to sack. 

Fiame must be elated that so many dignitaries of this independent state are at her feet.

At this very time our people are facing economic recession requiring urgent remedial actions from our Government leader. 

FAST however, is busy sacking good and able people to run the Government, with the PM leading the charge.

There is an Appeal to hear and the whole Nation looks forward to the exercise of true Independence of the Court in Samoa.


Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Leader of HRPP


Samoa Observer

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