8 September 2021, Apia Samoa. Senior lawyer and Partner of Wallwork-Lamb law firm, Su’a Hellene Wallwork was sworn-in at a special ceremony held at the Head of State’s residence in Vailele this morning.
Speaking to the media after the ceremony, Su’a held back tears as she acknowledged her parents, and thanked God for the opportunity to serve Samoa in the temporary role of Attorney General.
“E pito sili la’u faafetai i nai o’u matua na tausia a’u, o fua ia o la galuega lea ua tino mai. Ae faasilisili le faafetai i Le Atua ona o le tomai ma le agavaa ae maise o le avanoa e mafai ai ona tautua le atunuu, e ala i lenei tofiga le tumau.”
“I am truly humbled by this appointment. It is an honour that the Prime Minister and her Cabinet have expressed their trust and confidence in me to do this role as the Acting Attorney General. I didn’t choose this path at this time but I have to trust God puts us where he needs us to be”.
A lawyer for 22 years who had worked at the AG’s office as a graduate, Su’a says she is excited for the opportunity to work from within Government again, and acknowledged the role as a short term appointment to await the recruitment process for the Attorney General.
“Working in the Office of the Attorney General is a very privileged position that comes with many responsibilities.. I want to make the most of my time in the AG’s office and provide the best legal services to the Government in this time”.
Su’a Hellene acknowledged the need for a management of change strategy within the Office of the Attorney General, and says her focus would be on staff welfare especially in view of the pressures placed on the AGO team over the past few months.
“The priority for me is to look after the staff and ensure everyone is ok. A transition can always be unsettling. On top of that, this office has been through some grueling workloads and have been subjected to a lot of public scrutiny lately”, said Su’a.
Samoa’s interim AG says the Office of the Attorney General provides an essential service to the Government and that can only be carried out effectively if the team is working together and performing at its best.
“I need to make sure our team gets the chance to reset, recharge and be ready to continue serving the Government and her people”.
Su’a makes reference to a leadership tip from her brother and gold-medal-winning coach of Samoa’s national weightlifting team, Tuaopepe Asiata Jerry Wallwork.
“As I often hear my brother say when coaching his athletes, there is no shortcut to being the best team – preparation is key. This is a team effort. I already know a lot of lawyers in that office and it is a great team that I look forward to being a part of,” said Su’a.
In delivering her keynote address Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa thanked Su’a for responding to the call by Government to take up the role during this crucial time for Samoa.
“This is an important Constitutional role in Samoa, to be the main legal advisor to the Government, to ensure Government sets appropriate legislation, and upholds the rule of law in all of its work”.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the many years of service Su’a has given to Samoa, and within the community in roles such as President of the Samoa Law Society, as a matai, and through the establishment of Wallwork-Lamb law firm in 2013.
Asked by the media if she would consider applying for the job, Su’a smiled and says it is not her focus at this time.
“I am now focusing on my appointment as AG for three months, but applying for the job is not something that I’m thinking about at the moment,” she said.
Su’a added that she would not affiliate with the Samoa Law Society during her term and confirmed that Vice President Alex Su’a would take up the leadership of SLS in the interim.