Honours and Awards Bill amended

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The Act amending the Honours and Awards Bill 2017 was tabled in the one-day Parliament session. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi informed the lawmakers that the proposed change seeks to amend several sections of the Honours and Awards Act of 1999. 

The awards were established in 1984 and became official in 1985, he said.

“The reason why this Act was established was so that the government could have principles (faiga fa’avae) to honour or award the long serving employees in the country. 

“It is the same principles that are followed in other countries. The areas include sports, professional services as well as helping out through times of hardships.

“Previously, the only thing we could do to honour the service of such people especially the foreigners was where we bestowed matai titles that were not affected under the law of Lands and Titles which we call honours.

“We can bestow them with titles and confirmation to present to them that they have been honoured through their service to the country.

“That is the only final decision we came up with but there are still others who want to bestow titles,

“But according to the law only internationally which means there will be no impact under the Lands and Titles Law.”

An example made by Tuilaepa was the bestowment of the Title “Tui Falevao”.

“During the time of the United Nations meeting there was someone who approached me and told me that he was the one who pushed for the United Nation to have a special day for toilets,” said Tuilaepa.

“The reason why the United Nation has agreed to this it’s because more than 30million people around the world died from unhygienic due to the fact that there are no toilets available especially in the non-developed countries.

“I said thanks to him and asked him for his name and he told me that his name is Mr. Toilet which is known to all.

“I then jokingly said to him to come to Samoa as I am a chief of the village of Falevao and I will give him a title but one day he came to Samoa and saw me and said he is here for his title bestowment.

“I then gave him the name 'Tui Falevao’.

“I mention this because of the importance of honouring people who have worked hard for the betterment of the world as well as the country.

Olo Fiti Va'ai. Photo / Samoa Observer
Olo Fiti Va'ai. Photo / Samoa Observer

“But the amendment of the bill is to delete the terms first class, second class and so forth but all the titles given internationally will all be the same.

“This is one reason why the government thought of amending this Act.”

The Member of Parliament of Salega, Olo Fiti Vaai questioned the Prime Minister as to whether the change would include those foreigners who have been given titles that are not under the Lands and Titles law which he says “na o sina mea e faamaepaepa ai” or does this include under the Lands and Titles Law.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa responded saying that there is no such thing under the law.

“You are talking about something different when we are talking about the law,” said Tuilaepa.

“The reason why I was saying all these is that these were the normal acts that we did back in the days before the law was established but it is not happening anymore.”

Amendments in the act below. 

In section 2 of the Principal Act; insert: “Chief Executive Officer of Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet” means the Secretary to Cabinet;” 

• Section 6 and 8 – (1) In sections 6(2)(b) and 8 of the principal Act, for “Order of Samoa” substitute “Chief Order of Samoa”. (2) In section 6(2) of the principal Act: (a) in paragraph (c) delete “First Class”; (b) in paragraph (d) delete “Second Class”; (c) in paragraph (f) delete “Third Class”; and (d) in paragraph (g) delete “Fourth Class”. 

• Section 20 substituted – In section 20 of the Principal Act, substitute: “20. Posthumous awards - The awards described in section 6 may be posthumously.” 

• Section 23 amended – (1) For section 23 of the Principal Act: 

(a) in subsection 2(a) and (b) substitute: “

(b) Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as Chairperson;

(c)  the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance.”; 

(d) in subsection (2)(d)(iii), for “the chiefs and orators of Samoa,” substitute “representative of the community.”

(e) in subsection (5), substitute: 

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