Samoa’s 45 Member Parliament inclusive of 4 Women MPs – Commission of Inquiry Report.

The long awaited FAST appointed Commission of Inquiry Report is finally released, and one option recommended is for our Parliament Members to be reduced to 45 from 51 at present, inclusive of Women MPs to be fixed at 4.

Why? To save moneys.

We are certainly going backward!

The report also recommended that we consider a Second House of Parliament, a proposal already rejected in a Plebiscite held in the early 90s!

One only sensible recommendation made in the report is for Samoans overseas who want to vote in our General Elections to fly over and vote in Samoa as we have done since 1962.

It was FAST Government’s campaign promise however, that Samoans overseas will be allowed to vote from wherever they reside.

An estimated over 700,000 Samoans residing in New Zealand, Australia, American Samoa, Hawaii USA mainland, Fiji, Tonga, Japan, England etc, may qualify to vote.

And we do not have the necessary capacity to implement such pie in the sky schemes.

The status quo must therefore be maintained.

Only when a Samoan is in Samoa that he/she will be able to see and judge who is the most capable, honest and hardworking candidate to represent their district with dignity, respect and honour expected of such high position.

The Social Media and todays information and communications technology are such that, corrupt, high profile propagandist in Samoa can so easily sway our diaspora’s convictions away from the truth as it happened during the last General Elections in Samoa.

It happened also in the United States of America as we all know how the Russians were implicated in the US Presidential Elections which President Trump won.

 A Congressional Committee was ultimately set up to investigate.

When I questioned the US Secretary of the Interior at our Post Forum Dialogue at the time, on how the most world famous US Security Intelligence Services were blind-sided by the Russians, his response was “We were overtaken by the great changes in technology.”

These issues on the use of the Social Media by high profile propagandists were also debated by the leaders at our Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, where Samoa’s request to host the next CHOGM Meeting in Samoa was approved over Fiji’s counter offer.

When HRPP became the Government in 1982, we initiated the practice of setting up post elections Commission of Inquiries to immediately determine corrupt activities committed by Candidates whilst still fresh in our memories for immediate preventive legislations for which we were often criticized by those in the present Government, and also by the current Commission of Inquiry!

The majority of witnesses favoured the elimination of the 10 per cent minimum Constitutional guarantee for Women MPs!

And the witness thoughts were disclosed when these were supposed to remain confidential for the Commission members eyes and ears only.

The Commission ought to know that the matters they sought to change were the result of well thought out reforms, following internal discussions and studies over a period of approximately 10 years (two terms of Parliament) to provide a solution to concerns raised by Members since 1962.

And these reforms should be followed through before undertaking another major review as needed.

The Reports recommendations are full of inconsistencies and contradictions, which readers should find vastly entertaining.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Leader of HRPP

Samoa Observer

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