Selective memory, outright lies, and lost integrity!

Dear Editor,

In the last Parliamentary debate, it was claimed that the three Constitutional amendments passed on 15 December 2020 were rushed through by the HRPP government.

One such person, who was in my Cabinet, mentioned that the amendments were hurriedly introduced in only 7 months!

The ignorance and the deliberate attempt by this former Cabinet Minister to rewrite history is both appalling and dishonest.

It is even more disturbing that this Individual believes that major constitutional changes could be completed in 7 months!  

The simple fact is that the Parliamentary Hansard report records my speech in Parliament introducing the motion for the formation of the Parliamentary Commission at its first session in 2016.  

It was with the expressed intention to amend the Constitution to reflect the needed strengthening of our Judiciary and the Land and Titles Court for the simple reason that Samoa had too many outstanding cases in both the Lands and Titles and the Criminal Courts.

Many of the cases had been heard, however the decisions were never written up.

The motion passed unanimously, and the 5 years of consultations began.

Amongst other related issues was the introduction of communal rights of village chiefs in addition to individual rights of Westminster-based laws.

Six months of nationwide consultations took place following the first reading of the final bill as required by the Constitution, and over 85% of those consulted gave their support.

It is therefore a recorded fact that this constitutional process took 5 years of consultations to complete.

The delay in resolving lands and titles cases, sometimes lasting across generations of families, was deeply troubling for the highly respected and then Chief Justice Tiavasu’e Patu Falefatu Maka Sapolu and an embarrassment for the Judiciary of Samoa.

In addition to being an outstanding scholar and jurist, Chief Justice Sapolu was a matai who lived among his people and felt the destructive impact that justice delayed had on Samoan families and communities.  

He publicly acknowledged these constitutional amendments were long overdue, stating that Samoa has taken the lead in the world in recognizing communal rights as many countries in the world have their own well-established cultural values which shape the way they think and act.

The high-profile propagandists who are now trying to rewrite history need to stop embarrassing themselves and Samoa with this level of ignorance and lies.

We have been saying repeatedly that the only way that one can lead is to learn from your history.

The Faatuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi party leadership can begin by reading the Hansard reports or at least have someone read it to them!

With every passing day, we see actions and utterances that no longer reflect our Samoan values and culture.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Leader of HRPP



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