The Parliament of Samoa continues to foster healthy ties with Parliaments of other countries as well as international and regional institutions for professional development not only for the staff but Members alike. Staff of the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly (O.C.L.A) and Members of Parliament have had the opportunity to travel abroad for study tours, seminars, workshops and trainings. Realizing the importance of these programs, every effort is made to enable the participation of staff and Members of Parliament.
Recently, two parliamentary delegations attended such programs.
Parliamentary Staff Development Workshop for the Pacific Region – Nadi, Fiji.
On the 16th – 18th May 2016, four O.C.L.A staff and approximately 30 other participants from the Pacific met in Nadi, Fiji to discuss the evolving developmental role of various parliamentary staff in their own context and jurisdictions. The seminar was facilitated by the C.P.A Regional Secretariat Ms Suze Jones, Clerk Assistant (House), New Zealand and the C.P.A Australia Regional Secretariat represented by Mr Ray Purdey, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Victoria Australia. The meeting was made possible through the substantial financial assistance of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (C.P.A).
Each year, the C.P.A convenes Parliamentary Staff Development Workshops on a regional basis. The role of Parliamentary staff is critical to the effective functioning of Parliaments across the Commonwealth. They are the continuity between elections and the support mechanism for both new and established members of Parliament. Their contribution to promoting democratic governance cannot be underestimated.
The participants outlined several key issues of relevance to Pacific Island parliaments, including the professional development of parliamentarians, Committee Administration and Procedures in Committees, the Administration and funding of Parliament, Parliament and the Budget, Tradition and Culture in Parliament, Civil Society and the Media and strategies for parliaments to improve their responsiveness to gender equality issues.
Participants from the Parliament of Samoa to this workshop were: Erosi Koria (Principal Committee Clerk), Lauao Leavai (Senior Sub-Editor), Fuaselela Iupeli (Senior Finance Officer) and Gladys Toleafoa (Inter-parliamentary Secretary).
Australian Study Tour Program – Australia Federal Parliament (Canberra) & Parliament of Tasmania.
The Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra and the Parliament of Tasmania hosted eight new Members of Parliament and four parliamentary officials on the 22nd – 26th of May 2016. This initiative was kindly funded by the United Nations Development Program and the Government of Samoa. The main objective of the tour was to provide the newly elected Parliamentarians with the opportunity to observe the procedure and operations of like Westminster Parliaments. In addition, the program sought to enhance their parliamentary experience under the supportive framework of our twinning arrangement, mainly on areas such as Committee Inquiries, Question Times in the Chamber and other parliamentary procedures.