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FRIDAY 28TH AUGUST 2015

The Parliamentary Health and Medical Services Committee has successfully concluded its 2 Days-Inquiry for its stakeholders into the- 2009 Report of the Special Select Committee Inquiry into the Quality of Medical Services provided at the National Referral Hospital

The inquiry started on Thursday 20th and concluded on Friday 21st of August at the National Referral Hospital Conference Room.

It brought in Stakeholders and Directors from the National Referral Hospital and Senior Officials from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
Chair of the Health and Medical Services Committee Hon. Charles Sigoto says his committee resolved to conduct this inquiry with the intention of having the Government act on the recommendations in the 2009 report.

Hon. Sigoto further explained that his Committee used this inquiry to seek whether the recommendations of the first report is implemented or not.
However, most doctors and nurses during the inquiry said they still face challenges and problems while performing their duties at the hospital.

“We would like to see the Government to reprioritize funding and act upon the recommendations while their long term plan of relocating the hospital is impending”
The idea of having a Committee within NRH and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services for a quick push on the implementation of the recommendations was also raised during the inquiry.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, DrTenneth Dalipanda explained “This is to enable accountability to this process and to realize the quality of medical service that’s been offered at the hospital, otherwise nothing will happen again to the recommendations”

The Committee heard during the inquiry that once all recommendations are implemented, the National Referral Hospital will fulfil its Terms of reference (TOR) in delivering a standard of health care commensurate with their position as the primary healthcare service provider in Solomon Islands and to immediately lift any reservation that may currently be on health budget and exempt health from any future budget reservation.

Chairman of the Health and medical services Committee, Hon. Charles Sigoto further explained that the recommendations are not just there for people to see, but it needs strong leadership to work with the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and Ministry of Health and Medical Services to actually implement those recommendations.
“We will inform parliament again on these recommendations and urge the Government to act promptly on it so that the delivery of service the hospital provides is efficient” Hon. Sigoto added.
The report on the recent inquiry will be tabled in Parliament when Parliament sits soon.
Brief Background
In 2009 there was an inquiry conducted into the quality of medical services provided at the National Referral Hospital by the special select Committee into the quality of medical services provided at the National Referral Hospital.

The Committee was not able to table its report in Parliament in 2009 and the following year 2010 Parliament dissolved for elections. So after elections, the Government created the Health and Medical Services Committee as a new standing committee under Parliamentary Standing Order 71d to look at the health issues in the Country.

In August and September 2013 the Health and Medical Services Committee tabled the 2009 Special Select Committee report in Parliament which the Chairman at that time moved a motion for Parliament to resolve into the Committee of the whole house to consider the report.

During its recent deliberative meeting, the Health and Medical Services Committee sees it fit for a follow up on the report’s important recommendations thus resolved to conduct an inquiry into it and report its findings to Parliament.

FRIDAY 28TH AUGUST 2015

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee and MP for Small Malaita, Hon. Rick Hou has attended an inaugural meeting of Pacific Public Accounts Committees in Wellington, New Zealand, on 26 and 27 August 2015.

Accompanying him to this very important meeting is the PAC Secretary Mrs. Jasmine Waleafea of the National Parliament Office.
Parliament of New Zealand has played host to this year’s Pacific Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting and is jointly supported by Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the World Bank Group.

The objective of the meeting is to form a network which will act as a platform for Public Accounts Committee within the Pacific region and exchange knowledge and take in learning on good practices in the oversight of public expenditures.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) firmly believes that developing ways to exchange information is one effective way in which PAC performance in every jurisdiction can be improved.

Hon. Rick Hou who is the current Chairman of our Public Accounts Committee said this meeting provides an opportunity for him and his PAC Secretary Mrs. Jasmine Waleafea to share their experiences to other regional Parliaments and vice versa.

Many of the networks are mandated to enhance the knowledge of Members of Parliament, senior professional parliamentary staff and representatives from Supreme Audit Institutions on issues related to effective financial oversight, and to assist Parliaments to strengthen their relationships between national audit institutions.
PAC is one of the ten standing select Committees in National Parliament that remains active on its oversight role. Their recent inquiry in mid July was on the audit reports that were tabled in Parliament.

WEDNESDAY 26TH AUGUST 2015

L-R Ms  Koisau Sade Mrs Lysa Wini-Simeon (Chairlady YWPG) Ms  Lily Chekana Ms  Grace Hilly and YWPG's Secretary Mrs Alicia Kenilorea
L-R Ms Koisau Sade Mrs Lysa Wini-Simeon (Chairlady YWPG) Ms Lily Chekana Ms Grace Hilly and YWPG's Secretary Mrs Alicia Kenilorea

Young Women’s Parliamentary Group has began its support campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls (EVAWG) starting this month.

The campaign will involve members of YWPG wearing orange coloured clothing on the 25th of every month. The group started their first campaign on Tuesday 25th August 2015.

YWPG has been a strong supporter advocating against violence and inhuman acts against Solomon Islands women and girls.

Its campaign of EVAWG themed “Ladies Wear Orange” is its first visible action to send a strong message to stand together and advocate ending any form violence against women and girls.

YWPG believes that women and girls should feel safe in their communities and homes anywhere in Solomon Islands, which is called the “hapi isles” and a country upholding Christian values.
It is understood that Solomon Islands is among the highest in statistics in the pacific for violence against women and children.
YWPG believes it is time Solomon Islanders collectively stand together against such acts.

Earlier this year, YWPG issued a statement condemning in the strongest terms the rape of a pregnant woman in an urban area in Honiara.

Members of YWPG have actively participated in EVAWG by attending the launching of EVAW resource organized by UN Women, a toolkit on How to design projects to end violence against women and girls. It is a step-by-step guide to taking action.
YWPG sees this campaign will go a long way to ending violence against women and girls.
YWPG believes its support will bring understanding to young women to identify violence and be ready to support and defend other vulnerable women and girls in such situations.

THURSDAY 13TH AUGUST 2015

Front Sitting: from left is Mr. John Firibo of Bishop Epalle, Tania Wickham of St Nicholas College, Rochelle Palmer of KGVI and Nauna Revoh of Florence Young..(Missing is Jayson Joseph of Betikama).Back standing are MSDC committee members : from left Ms Marisa Pepa Chief Parliamentary Civic Education Officer, Alex Seama Principle Civic Officer and Navi Bently Tito KGVI English teacher
Front Sitting: from left is Mr. John Firibo of Bishop Epalle, Tania Wickham of St Nicholas College, Rochelle Palmer of KGVI and Nauna Revoh of Florence Young..(Missing is Jayson Joseph of Betikama).Back standing are MSDC committee members : from left Ms Marisa Pepa Chief Parliamentary Civic Education Officer, Alex Seama Principle Civic Officer and Navi Bently Tito KGVI English teacher

Five emerging young leaders will represent Solomon Islands in the upcoming 2nd Melanesian School Debate Competition in Port Villa, Vanuatu next month.

They are Ms.Tania Wickham of St. Nicholas College, Ms.Nauna Revoh of Florence Young Christian School, Mr. John Firibo of Bishop Epalle Catholic School, Ms.Rochelle Palmer of KGVI School and Mr. Jayson Joseph of Betikama Adventist College. This will be the second time for Tania to represent Solomon Islands.

The Melanesian School debate committee (MSDC) in collaboration with the Solomon Islands National Schools Speech Competition and Mini -English and Arts Festival Committee, selected the five best students during the recent English Festival in Honiara.

Rochelle Palmer and Jayson Joseph were selected from their outstanding performances in the senior category speech competition as first and second place winners respectively while Tania Wickham, Nauna Revoh and John Firibo scored high marks from their good debates presented in the Competition. The selection was done on each student marks gained and not as a whole school team.

The committee for the debate competition is now working tirelessly around the clock to prepare the students as they have only 4 weeks before the actual competition. A couple of meetings have already been held by the committee to update the students prior to the debate. Topics for the upcoming debate were not available as yet but the committee is encouraging the students to read more on issues affecting Pacific Island countries.

However the topics maybe similar to last year’s debate program in Papua New Guinea which include issues like;

  • Customary land in Melanesia should be registered to ensure sustainable development and economic growth Donors,
  • Foreign Aid Donors should decide how Pacific Island countries spend their money and,
  • It is fair for Australia to negotiate with Pacific islands Countries to host asylum seekers.

According to Committee member and Chief Parliamentary Civic Education Officer, Ms Marisa Pepa “The students will be having a mock debate session to help them develop their confidence to stand in front of a large crowd of people”

Solomon Islands came second to Papua New Guinea in last year’s first Melanesian School Debate after they were down by just three points only in the final round of speech competition. With its second place, team Solomon was also awarded the first runner up cup for the best speaker of debate and the best male speaker award.

Jasmine Waleafea of National Parliament Office who had accompanied team Solomon to Papua New Guinea last year says our team’s performance in the first Melanesian School debate was impressive and outstanding.

“We are competent but have a lot of room for improvement for future similar events,” she said.

Therefore she encouraged this year’s competitors for the 2nd Melanesian debate to sharpen up on expressions and tone variations when they debate.

“You have to look at the judge to impress them” Jasmine explained.

She also encouraged the students to practice team work. From observations during the recent committee meeting, team Solomon is looking confident to reach the finals.

With the inclusion of team Fiji, this year’s debate will be competitive since the first competition was organized only amongst three closest Melanesian neighbors, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

The objectives of the debate competition was geared towards building confidence among students, recognition of their leadership qualities, and enables the voice of youths to be heard by policy and law makers and contributes to influence public decision making.

It was an initiative derived from the success of the first ever Regional Youth Parliament (RYP) hosted by Solomon Islands National Parliament on September 2013. Ms Vani K Nades, a former employer of the Institute of Business Studies (IBS) PNG who attended the Regional Youth Parliament as an observer further pursue the idea to organize last year’s first school debate in Papua New Guinea. Organizers said the idea was to engage students from all Melanesian countries.

Team Solomon will again carry the country’s flag in this program through the proud support of the National Parliament Office, the Ministry of Education and Human resources and Youth Development Division of the Ministry of Women, Youth Children and Family Affairs.

The program of debate is schedule to kick start from the 21st to 25th September 2015.

FRIDAY 7TH AUGUST 2015

Mr. Paula Uluinaceva PAC, PEC, CRC Chairmen and members
LEFT:Accountant General of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Mr. Paula Uluinaceva led the presentation on the Public Finance Management Act 2013.RIGHT:PAC, PEC Chairs and the Committees members during discussion time.

The Committee Secretariat of the National Parliament in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and Treasury successfully conducted a workshop on the Public Financial Management Act 2013 for Chairmen and members of both the Public Accounts Committee and Public Expenditure Committee on Wednesday the 5th of August 2015 at the Paul Tovua Complex

This workshop was initiated by both the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Public Expenditure Committee (PEC) with the aim to bolster their oversight role as mandated by Parliament.

The primary objective of the workshop was to assist the committee members to appreciate the concepts, intentions and principles of the Public Financial Management Act 2013.

The Accountant General of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, the guest presenter, Mr. Paula Uluinaceva led the presentation on the Public Finance Management Act 2013 by going through the different parts and policy intention of the Act.
Four of the principal policy objectives underpin global view on PFM includes; (1) Fiscal discipline, (2) Optimal allocation of funds and resources, (3) Proper (economical and ethical) use of public funds and (4) Accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.

A forum was organized following the presentation, which saw to the Committees Chairmen and other members raised issues and intensively discussed certain parts and sections of the Act. The Committees members were concern over what warrants the use of Contingency Warrant over the years and recommended a ceiling to be set for such occurrences. They also question the robustness of the budget processes and the continuous complaints by line ministries over their given baseline annually when appearing before PAC to consider the Annual Appropriation Bills and Supplementary Appropriation Bills.

Suggestions were also made on strategies for holding to account Members of Parliament who are not Public Officers, once colluded with Public servants who are Accountable and Accounting officers; such as the Permanent Secretaries, Financial Controllers and down to the Constituency Development officers.
Whilst the Committee called on the need to strengthen internal audits within ministries as part of their accountability to Solomon Islands and its people, it also applauded the Ministry of Finance and Treasury for taking the initiative to strengthen its efforts within the ministry.

In their closing remarks, the Chairmen of PAC and PEC, Hon. Rick Hounipwela and Hon. Elijah Doromuala thanked the Accountant General for his answers to their queries as well as his outstanding presentation on the principles of the Public Management Act 2013. They also acknowledged the National Parliament Committee Secretariat team together with the Ministry of Finance and Treasury for initiating such important and timely workshop.

Present during the workshop are the PAC Chairman Hon. Rick Hou, PEC Chairman Hon. Elijah Doromuala, CRC Chairman Hon. Mathew Wale, ECC Chairman Hon. Culwick Togamana and members Hon. Moses Garu, Hon. Jeremiah Manele, , Auditor General Acting Mr. Robert Cohen, Director Committees Mr. Marson Lilopeza, Mr. Jefferson Hallu (Committee Secretary), Jasmine Waleafea (Committee Secretary) and Vanessa Rodie (Committee Secretary).

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