The TATTE Building that houses the Attorney Generals Office.
By Staff Reporters
APIA, SAMOA – 07 MAY 2020: Lawyers working at the Attorney General’s Office have been warned not to go against the three constitutional amendments promoted by the Government and had opened up unprecedented debate both locally and overseas over the past four weeks.
Both the Judiciary and the Samoa Law Society reject the amendments and are asking for their withdrawal to allow for wider public consultation.
The three bills, Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Court Bill 2020 and Judicature Bill 2020 have already gone past their second reading in parliament and the Prime Minister is adamant to have them passed in August when the Parliament Select committee now hearing public views and submissions completes its work and report to parliament after 90 days.
The lawyers Talamua spoke to confirmed the meeting was held on Tuesday this week saying it was on a directive from the Prime Minister. Speaking under anonymity for obvious reasons, the sources said they feel threatened and are very concerned about their careers.
The same sources said they were also warned against supporting the Samoa Law Society’s submissions to the Special Parliamentary Committee this morning.
Meanwhile, the Samoa Law Society said its Council has decided to write to the Acting Attorney General to query if such a meeting did take place, and if it did, outline the concerns the Council has with such treatment of its members.
“We do not know yet whether such a meeting occurred as we have not received any notification of such a meeting,” said the Samoa Law Society’s statement.
“However, if such a meeting did occur, it is a very sad situation to have happened. It would not only affect the rights of such lawyers guaranteed under the Constitution but it is also creating a working environment based on intimidation. It possibly also breaches the principles of employment under the Public Service Act.
“The Samoa Law Society also reminds all lawyers that we are their Society and we are there to support them should they need such support during these trying times,” said the statement.