Sunday 23 May 2021, Apia Samoa A notice issued by the Legislative Assembly under the letterhead of resigned Speaker of the House Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi directly defies Orders of the Supreme Court of Samoa, issued just hours earlier.
The Supreme Court after a special sitting Sunday morning issued orders declaring the Proclamation issued Saturday 22nd May by Head of State Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, as inconsistent with the Law, and therefore “unlawful and of no effect”.
Signed by Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese, the Orders instead declare the original proclamation of the Head of State calling Parliament to convene on Monday 24th May, as legal.
The Supreme Court then specifically order copies of their judgment be delivered immediately to the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, together with the Attorney General and His Highness the Head of State. The urgency taken by the Supreme Court taking into account the nation’s preparations towards the 17th Parliamentary sitting expected for Monday morning.
In the public notice issued at 8pm Sunday evening, resigned Speaker of the House Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi purports to postpone the swearing-in of Parliament scheduled for Monday 24th May 2021, listing the very proclamation deemed illegal by the Supreme Court, as the basis of the postponement.
In direct defiance with Supreme Court Orders, the public notice states Parliament has been, “postponed until a further proclamation has been made by the Head of State”.
The public notice does not address the issue of Parliament having to convene within 45 days of a general election, as required by Article 52 of the Samoa Constitution.
Immediately after the Supreme Court issued its Court Orders, caretaker Prime Minister said a live broadcast that he and HRPP members would not be taking part in the swearing-in ceremony because the 10% quota of women had not been satisfied, adding his view that Parliament can only be convened by proclamation of the Head of the State. HRPP have instead, issued a public notice for all their supporters to meet at their Mulinuu headquarters at 8am tomorrow morning, dressed in blue.
The FAST party have announced they do not acknowledge a notice signed by a former Speaker and the latest judgment of the Supreme Court issued Sunday afternoon is the current Law in place. FAST members and their supporters will be in Parliament tomorrow morning in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment.
The latest move in Samoa’s politic!l saga now brings the country to a stand-off between the caretaker Government and the Judiciary who have had to step in and decide the legality of various actions taken by the caretaker government since the April 9th general elections.
What will happen at Mulinuu peninsular tomorrow morning remains to be seen.