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APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Sept. 6) – The people of Tokelau want to be independent. But there is a big question they have to answer, says former Samoan Court Judge Tagaloa Enoka Puni: "Are they ready to administer themselves?"

Puna, now based in Suva, is in Apia to conduct a 10-day workshop for Tokelau Law Commissioners, Court Clerks and Police Prosecutors.

The Tokelau Administration Office, Apia, is hosting the training.

Puni who is also the Pacific, Judicial Education Program coordinator, said he hopes to provide the participants with skills, knowledge of the law, which will best suit Tokelau.

"The people have to think about governance, and setting up laws. Other issues would be if Tokelau will be administered by an executive judiciary," he said.

Many Pacific Island Countries have adopted the justice systems similar to the Westminster System Justice System, except the French territories.

The aim of this workshop according to Tagaloa is to acquaint the stakeholders of the Tokelau Justice System with various aspects of this Westminster type.

In the past Tokelau has been using the traditional way of resolving disputes, and a system similar to the Westminster type.

However Tagaloa said the move towards self-determination means more pressure will be placed on the administering and administrators of justice.

"In the end, the choice is up to the Tokelau people, to see which system to set up," he said, adding that it would be good if these two systems can be merged.

September 10, 2004

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