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Savai'i consultations "not thorough" – former M.P.

The ongoing public consultations in Savai’i by the Special Parliamentary Committee are “not thorough”, says former Member of Parliament, Leanapapa Laki Anderson.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the 69-year-old former politician said he thought the consultations would be taken into the villages, not just kept in Salelologa. 

"The thing is they do not go to the villages, the villages come to them, which is not what most people thought," he said. 

"When I was in Savai'i on Thursday, I was surprised to find out when our village chiefs told me that they are based in Salelologa while the villages make their way to them. Mind you, for things done in Salelologa, if a chief has no car or money for transportation, then he won't be there to express his views." 

Leanapapa said the Committee should have at least provided transport for the villagers to be transported to the venue of the consultations, in this case Salelologa where they are currently based. 

"So actually no fare, no participation. It's just not thorough," he added. 

The Special Parliamentary Committee is currently in Savaii hearing the views of the public on three bills intended to amend the Constitution and overhaul the Judiciary to make the Land and Titles Court independent of the Supreme Court.

The proposed changes are spelt out in the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, the Lands and Titles Court Bill 2020 and Judicature Bill 2020, which are currently before Parliament. 

The Committee was in Savai'i for two days and started its public consultations for the villages of Fa'asaleleaga No 1 and 2 before moving onto Safua. 

Last month, Leanapapa criticised Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and his Government and accused them of turning Parliament into a “rubber stamp” for the Executive.

He said the concept of separation of powers in Samoa has been completely destroyed and it is why he is not surprised by the Government’s proposed legislation to split the Judiciary.

The Committee as already heard submissions from Tafua, to Salelologa, Salelavalu, Vaiafai, Iva and Safua during two days of consultations in Savai'i. It is chaired by Gatoloaifa’ana Amataga Alesana Gidlow and includes the Members Namulauulu Sami Leota, Sulamanaia Tuivasa Tauiliili, Faaulusau Duffy Stowers, Fuimaono Teo Samuelu, Leaana Ronnie Posini and Ili Setefano Ta’ateo.

The Committee’s public consultations, which have been closed to the media, continues this week.

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