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Nothing set in stone, P.M. assures as L.T.C. consultations end in Savai'i

The public consultation for three bills designed to reshape the nation's court system ends in Savai'i this week.

And with the Special Parliamentary Committee heading to Upolu, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi has reminded that nothing in the bills is set in stone.

During an interview on Wednesday, Tuilaepa re-emphasised the importance of the Parliamentary Committee's role and the public consultation aspect of the bills. 

He added that this where the nation can offer their advice and recommendations on what needs to be changed to strengthen the law-making process.

"This means once they return from Savai'i, they will review the opinions expressed in Savai'i and the bills are to be revised," he said.

Tuilaepa noted that most of the concerns seem to be about the limiting of matai sa'o for each family to five. But such things are "easy to alter", he said.

"This is why consultations are important," he said. 

"This is where it shows how wrong the announcements have been from those who do not understand and those trying to deceive (the country). 

"They think [the bill] has been finalised, but no, it means they do not understand the processing of a law since 1962. What saddens me is that it seems many other chiefs have been misled too."

The proposed changes to overhaul the nation's judiciary has been widely criticised since it's proposal in March.

Under the proposal, the L.T.C. would be a parallel and independent judicial structure, including its own High Court and Court of Final Appeal and Review, removing the option to appeal L.T.C. decisions to the Supreme Court.

The three bills in question are Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Lands and Titles Court Bill 2020 and Judicature Bill 2020.

Resuming consultation earlier this week on Monday following the week-long Parliamentary sitting last week, the Parliamentary Committee started at Gagaifomauga No. 3, hearing public opinions from Aopo, Fagaee, Letui, and Sasina.

On Tuesday the select Committee heard the opinions and recommendations of Asau, Auala, Sataua, Papa, Fagasa and Vaisala from the District of Vaisigano No. 1 and No 2.

On Wednesday, the Committee had visited and heard from the constituency of Falealupo and Alataua which includes Falealupo, Falelima, Tufutafoe and Neiafu.

However, this comes after Falealupo had already publicly expressed their concerns and opposition against the three bills.

Falealupo village’s senior orator, Fuiono Denina Crichton said the decision to oppose the bills is a result of extensive discussions by the residents and the Village Council. 

On Thursday, the Parliamentary Committee is expected to hear from the position of Palauli Sisifo and Salega Sasa'e, including Foailuga, Samata tai, Samata uta, Fagagau and Fogatuli.

The following day, Friday has been scheduled for Salega Sisifo, Faia'ai, Vaipu'a, Fogasavaii and Sagone.



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