Letter to the Editor: The Fundamental Right of Freedom of Speech and Expression
HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION PARTY
PETESA – BEACH ROAD MULINU’U – 5th February 2023
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The Fundamental Right of Freedom of Speech and Expression Removed Illegally
Last week, the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi party dominated Parliament removed the Constitutionally established fundamental right of Freedom of Speech and Expression of two members of the Human Rights Protection Party, namely the member of Parliament from Lepā and the member of Parliament from Faleata No 3.
This unconstitutional and unprecedented action was achieved by a simple amendment to the Standing Orders of Parliament.
The same amendment also gave power to the Speaker and the ruling Party to remove the status of leader of the HRPP from Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
The legality of this amendment will be challenged by the HRPP in the Court of Law.
The question arises, as to the strength of a Standing Order, amendment vis-a-viz, the Constitution which is the Supreme Law of Samoa.
A learned lawyer recently ranked the order of precedence of our Laws in this manner:
(1) The Constitution is the Supreme Law of Samoa. Any law which is inconsistent with the Constitution is void.
(2) The Acts of Parliament
(3) The Regulations
(4) The By-Laws
(5) The Standing Orders of Parliament which are mere policy guidelines for the smooth conduct of business by the Legislative Assembly.
It is the reason the House may at any time set aside a provision of a Standing Order to allow an action to continue for reason of urgency.
Since FAST became the Government by virtue of a Court decision in 2021, it has tried many illegal strategies to remove the two MPs from Parliament,
(a) first by denying the swearing in of Tuilaepa and Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi along with all our elected Members of Parliament on 14/15 Sept 2021
(b) suspending our Party Leader and Member of Parliament Lealailepule for eternity
(c) upon the Courts cancellation of the indefinite suspension by Parliament, re-imposed the suspension of the two MPs for another two years without pay and
(d) ban the two members from holding any interview with the Media on any political issues, using the instrument of the Standing Orders to achieve it.
Meanwhile, the Members must also not enter Parliament grounds, library, nor even use the toilets.
And what is the problem with FAST?
Fear! That’s it!
But to continue lying about the 1million a year per district to fulfil a campaign promise will cause more stress.
The total cost is now equal to $153 million tālā for 3yrs of the FAST reign, for all the 51 Constituencies.
Only $200,000 has been paid so far for most of the political districts.
And to remind FAST to honour their promises is not a crime to warrant the suppression of any citizens freedom of expression guaranteed under the Constitution of our beloved Independent State of Samoa.
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
Leader of HRPP