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PIF weighs in on Samoa

PIF secretary general Henry Puna. Photo: Wikimedia commons

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna believes rival parties in Samoa can still work together to convene parliament as soon as possible.

“The Independent State of Samoa has for a long time been a shining example of self-determination and democracy within our Forum family,” he said.

“I have confidence that all parties will work together to convene parliament as soon as possible, in respect of the democratic values which have served Samoa and its people so well over the decades.

“Recent political developments continue to test the stability and relationship between Samoa’s governing institutions.

Puna said the most recent judgments by Samoa’s judiciary affirmed a way forward aligned to the Constitution of Samoa.

“While respecting the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of another member, all Forum members have recognised the importance of respecting and protecting indigenous rights and cultural values, traditions and customs, while also upholding democratic processes and institutions which reflect national and local circumstances, including the peaceful transfer of power, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, and just and honest government,” he said.

“The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat remains ready to provide assistance and support to Samoa and its people.”

Samoa’s political deadlock remains

July 14, 2021

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa. Photo: Pacific Leadership Program

Samoa’s Faʻatuatua i le Atua Samoa uaTasi (FAST) leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa has denied claims by the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) that FAST members have been meeting with the chief justice and other judges to turn things their way.

Fiame has accused HRPP leader TuilaepaSailele Malielegaoi of a desperate attempt to retain power with attacks on the rule of law.

FAST has raised concern about what it described as “disturbing developments” in recent days.

This includes the HRRP lodging a complaint to the Judiciary Services Commission, accusing Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese of incompetence.

It comes as the country’s Court of Appeal is due to sit on Friday to consider the legality of the adhoc swearing-in of the FAST government in late May.

A Supreme Court hearing in Samoa on Monday was expected to determine if the caretaker prime minister will face criminal contempt proceedings.

The result will likely directly impact the Court of Appeal’s Friday hearing to determine if FAST’s impromptu swearing-in on 24 May be recognised.

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