The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly has confirmed that the Parliamentary Committee tasked to hear and consider public views on the three controversial Bills now before Parliament, will begin its work next week.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, the Lands and Titles Bill 2020 and the Judicature Bill 2020, have passed their first and second reading in Parliament, and are now before a Special Parliamentary Select Committee to consider public submissions.
Responding to questions from Samoa Global News, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei confirms that the committee is Chaired by Hon Gatoloaifaana Amataga Gidlow, with members Namulauulu Sami Leota, Faaulusau Rosa Duffy, Leaana Ronnie Posini, Ili Setefano Taateo Tafili, Sulamanaia Fetaiai Tauiliili Tuivasa and Fuimaono Te’o Samuelu Te’o.
“The Ad-hoc Parliamentary Committee was appointed for this inquiry only, it is called the Special Committee”, said Tiatia.
The Samoa Law Society have submitted in a Position Paper that the Bills are “fundamentally and technically defective”, recommending that all three Bills “be withdrawn from the Order paper at the next sitting of Parliament”.
The President of SLS Leiataualesa Komisi Koria has further urged the public to approach their Members of Parliament about the proposed amendments.
“You have a right to approach your Member of Parliament and ask them to explain the impacts of these Bills”.
A letter signed by the Acting Chief Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and all members of the Judiciary addressed to the Samoa Law Reform Commissioner conveys grave concerns that the proposed changes will infringe the doctrine of separation of powers by splitting the Judicial system into two.
The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly explains that the process of passing legislation is a 3-stage process and the Bills are now at the 2nd stage – public consultations after the second reading. He says any recommendations made by the Special Committee are then considered under a process he refers to as, Consideration in Detail – CID, before the third and final reading.
“O le stage lona lua lea ua iai; 2nd Reading – Committee Stage. A toe lipoti le Komiti ona agai loa lea i le Iloiloga Auiliili – Consideration In Detail-CID, ma faasee atu ai i le Faitauga Faatolu.”
Tiatia says there are plans for the Special Committee to hear submissions and receive formally written positions in Mulinuu from next week and there are also plans for the Committee to hold consultative sessions in the rural areas and travel to Savaii in June.
“O le stage lea ua iai Tulafono e avanoa ai le mamalu o le atunuu e afifio mai e faaali o latou finagalo i Tulafono. Ua iai foi le faamoemoe e faatautaia fonotaga (public consultations) a le Komiti Faa-Palemene i Itumalo i tua, ma Savaii i le masina o Iuni”.
Members of the public, organisations and community groups are encouraged to contact the Office of the Legislative Assembly on Ph: 21811 ext 1011 and 1012 for appointment times.
“E faailoa mai i lo matou Ofisa alalafaga ma telefoni, ona faavasega lea e le Komiti ma le matou Ofisa aso ma taimi mo le mamalu o le atunuu, ona toe fesootai atu lea mo le afifio mai i Mulinuu. Afai o nisi o lo o afifio i Salafai, e lelei le onosai mai pea o le a toe faasalalau atu i le TV & Leitio aso e faatautaia ai fonotaga a le Komiti i Savaii”.