Speech by Ms Lizbeth Cullity, UNRC/UNDP RR at Launch of the Certificate of Law Course for Parliamentarians, Legislative Conference Room, Tuanaimato, Samoa.

Mar 14, 2017

Rev Iamafana Faauuga

Hon. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi

Hon. Deputy Speaker, Afioga Nafoitoa Talaimanu Keti

Alafua Campus Director, Leatuaolevao Mrs. Ruby Vaá 

Hon. Members of Parliament

Ladies  & Gentlemen

Talofa lava!

It is a great honour for me to warmly welcome you to the launch of the Certificate in Law Course of the University of the South Pacific Alafua Campus.  

Five and a half weeks ago I received a letter from two Members of Parliament, Hon. Setefano Taateo Tafili, and Hon. Taefu Lemi Taefu, with a request to pay for the tuition fees of 18 Members of Parliament for a newly developed Certificate of Law Course at USP, and my first reaction was to accept the request and give it my full support.  Subsequent discussions with the government on the use of UNDP regular funds to sponsor the 18 Members were successful and meetings with the MPs at UNDP further re-enforced my conviction that this was a very worthy cause.

A parliament’s primary function is to approve laws which govern the country.  Yet, upon entering Parliament, many MPs have found the work required prior knowledge in working with the law, accounting and a general understanding about development issues facing the country.  While we know there is no Job Description for MPs. I salute the MPs taking it upon themselves to obtain the foundational knowledge needed to perform better in reviewing new and existing legislation before taking these critical decisions.

This endeavours remind me of a famous saying by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States where he said: To reach a port, we must set sail – Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift.” 

I do believe the 18 MPs who have decided to start and complete this course have a goal to achieve and a port to arrive at in terms of understanding their job better and I do believe that they intend to arrive there sooner, rather than later and have certainly set sail towards achieving that goal. 

This level of proactive-ness demonstrates not only a serious approach to Parliamentary work, which will demand high levels of commitment and hard work from each participating MP, but it will set the bar high for future MPs viz a viz the levels of competency required to scrutinize proposed legislation both on its technical merits and on its potential ramifications on the Samoan culture further down the track – possibly hundreds of years ahead affecting generations to come.  This is a good thing and I do hope many more ordinary people chose to register in the course as well.

Also, I acknowledge and salute the University of the South Pacific for taking up the gauntlet and designing a Certificate of Law Couse specially designed for these MPs.  It has not been easy and indeed, the reputation of the University is at stake in both producing and running the Course and we wish you every success.  It is a first world-wide I believe! 

For UNDP, we are thrilled to support activities that will catapult Samoa forward as a democratic nation in the Pacific Region.  A country’s strength and solidarity rests on a solid foundation of laws and regulations which support its Constitution and will allow it to grow and flourish safely and independently.  

Samoa, I think is blessed in many ways but mostly due to its unique culture, the strength of its oratory and blend of its history and today’s world.  It is 2017 after all, and may I end with one more quote from Franklin Roosevelt:  “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” 

I wish you all every success in moving forward!

Ia manuia le taumafaiga!  

Soifua

 

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