THE CONSTITUTION AND THE FRANCHISE IN WESTERN SAMOA
AbstractThe constitutional systems of the non-European islands of the Pacific offer a rich and largely unexplored field for study by the comparative constitutional lawyer. Of the independent states, Tonga (1875) offers an example of the nineteenth century constitutions. The constitution of Western Samoa (1962) was enacted at a time (1960) when only a few of the former British colonies had constitutions, and although its framers obviously drew on such precedents as existed, in some respects its content, and in particular, its autochthonous method of enactment, present contrasts to the Westminster/Whitehall model (which had found an influential expression in the Nigerian constitutions of 1959 and I960). This model also influenced, in varying degrees, the constitutions of Nauru (1968), Papua New Guinea (1975), Solomon Islands (1978), Tuvalu (1978) and Kiribati (1979), although some of them (Papua New Guinea in particular) are elaborate extensions of the 1959 Nigerian constitution. The most recent constitution is that of Vanuatu (1980), and in keeping with its antecedents, it is perhaps the most idiosyncratic of the modern constitutions. There is also a considerable number of and diversity between the constitutional systems of the non-independent islands. This essay is largely a critique of the decisions first, of St. John C.J. of the Supreme Court of Western Samoa, and secondly of the Court of Appeal of Western Samoa, in Attorney-General v. Saipa'ia Olomalu, but the analysis is directed also to an exploration of the techniques that are and might be adopted for the interpretation of the Pacific Island constitutions.
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