Curbs on Gov­ern­ment Lawyers Lat­est Move in Samoa Con­tro­versy

Fiji Sun - - NEWS -

Ris­ing anger in Samoa over three con­tro­ver­sial con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments has led to curbs on key of­fi­cials. Lawyers at the Samoa At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice have been warned by the gov­ern­ment not to op­pose the amend­ments.

The gov­ern­ment, which faces lit­tle op­po­si­tion in par­lia­ment, wants its Con­sti­tu­tion Amend­ment Bill, Land and Ti­tles Court Bill and Ju­di­ca­ture Bill made law by Au­gust.

Ac­cord­ing to Tala­mua On­line, the leg­is­la­tion is now go­ing through a 90-day pe­riod of pub­lic views and sub­mis­sions.

Con­cerns over pro­posed law re­forms which many crit­ics say are un­con­sti­tu­tional and un­war­ranted even led to a pub­lic protest last week de­spite so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules in place due to the covid-19 pan­demic.

The changes, which op­po­nents say would lead to the alienation of cus­tom land, have been op­posed by the ju­di­ciary, the Law So­ci­eties of both Samoa and New Zealand, aca­demics and other groups.

Gov­ern­ment lawyers were told at a meet­ing last week the di­rec­tive not to ques­tion the changes came from the prime min­is­ter. The Samoa Law So­ci­ety said that if such a di­rec­tive had been is­sued, it was “a very sad sit­u­a­tion.’

The So­ci­ety said in a state­ment “we are there to sup­port them should they need such sup­port dur­ing th­ese try­ing times.”

Se­nior mem­bers of the Samoa Law So­ci­ety.

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