The Faatuatua Samoa ua Tasi party held a thanksgiving candlelight service early this morning at Mulinu’u infront of the Legislative Assembly building, at the very spot where 12 months ago, they were sworn-in as Samoa’s XVIIth Parliament and newly elected Government under a large marquee outside the Maota Fono.
The service was in remembrance of one of the most difficult days in Samoa’s political history.
On Monday 24th May 2021, Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa and her selected Cabinet were sworn in under a tent outside Parliament House, which was locked on that day, despite a pickwick Court decision issued the day before, directing Parliament to convene in accordance with Samoa’s Constitution.
The swearing in ceremony, which would be upheld by the Courts months later on the 23rd of July, was attended by over a thousand supporters from the 26 constituents represented by elected FAST members on that day. The church service was conducted by the Chairman of the EFKS Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Reverend Elder Iosefa Atapana Uilelea.
On this day last year, the Samoa Judiciary sent a powerful message amidst the historical stand-off. The Honourable Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese, together with all members of Samoa’s Judiciary walked up to the doors of Parliament House expecting the XVIIth Parliament of Samoa to convene, as ruled by the Courts. Just minutes before 9:30am the Samoa Judiciary escorted by Police Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, walked in solidarity from the Courthouse at Mulinuu towards Samoa’s Parliament House.
A large crowd seated inside tents let out a loud cheer as the Judiciary led by the Chief Justice walked past them, towards the front doors of Parliament House.
The Chief Justice purposefully reached out his hands to open the doors of Samoa’s Parliament House. Finding them locked, he turned, paused for a second, and then made his way back through the crowd to the Courthouse.
Every member of Samoa’s Judiciary walked in solidarity behind Chief Justice Satiu, as the people of Samoa looked on.
The Supreme Court also specifically directed that copies of the judgment be immediately delivered to the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, together with the Attorney General and His Highness the Head of State.
Clerk of the Legislative Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei was the only Government official who turned up to face the crowd of people who’d been invited to attend Parliament that day. He apologised to the FAST party leader Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa, and conveyed that their position was based on the latest proclamation issued by the Head of State.
The FAST party returned to Parliament grounds later that afternoon and held the swearing in ceremony that would retrospectively be upheld by the Courts, as the official day of their takeover as the new Government of Samoa.