Chamber meeting at 11am, called by Chief Justice

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 23 May 2021, 12:00AM

The Ministry of Justice and Court Administration Chief Executive Officer, Moliei Simi Vaai says a special “meeting in chambers” has been called by the Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese on Sunday. 

This is to entertain a motion filed by Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T) party to overturn an order from the Head of State to suspend Parliament's scheduled swearing-in on Monday, made via a late-night order issued on Saturday. 

In a statement issued Saturday night, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, announced that he was suspending Parliament "pursuant to his constitutional authority".

“This is a Chamber [meeting] to determine what is the [legal view] on what was filed and it was a call by the Chief Justice,” said Mrs Vaai. 

Police officers are seen here at the courthouse in Mulinuu and the chamber meeting will be at 11am (Sunday), said Moliei. 

The media has been told to leave the court house compound. 

The proclamation by the Head of State directly undermines an earlier writ signed by the Head of State signed this Thursday, which confirmed Parliament would convene on Monday to meet a constitutional obligation.

Speaking exclusively to the Samoa Observer F.A.S.T. lawyer Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu on Saturday night, said the proclamation issued by the Head of State was unlawful and would be the subject of a legal challenge.

"We'll be seeking court orders to allow the Parliament to go ahead on Monday [night] or early tomorrow morning," Taulapapa said. 

"Suspending or revoking his May 20 order [to convene Parliament in line with the constitution] is in the same category as revoking the results of the election.  "[It is] unlawful and void,” she said. 

Samoa has been thrown into a constitutional crisis after the Head of State suspended Parliament's scheduled Monday sitting in a shock last-minute move moments ago. 

• This is a developing story

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 23 May 2021, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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