TUESDAY 24TH MAY 2016
Parliament has passed the 2015 Appropriation Bill 2016 on Monday the 23rd of May 2016.
The Bill is an Act to appropriate an additional Twenty Six Million, Four Hundred and Sixty Three Thousand and Fifteen Dollar, to the service of the year ending 31st December 2015.
It is to supplement expenditure incurred by the issue of contingencies warrants and advance warrants in 2015 to the following Government ministries.
Contingency warrants which totals to: $8,355,629
Advance warrants which totals to: $18,107,386
So the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation 2016 is: $26,463,015 for the year ending 31st December 2015.
The 2016 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2016 is next to be debated.
TUESDAY 17TH MAY 2016
The Parliamentary Education and Human Resources Training Committee (EHRTC) Chairman made a courtesy call on two tertiary institutions in Honiara on Wednesday the 11th of May 2016.
The two institutions are the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) and the University of the South Pacific (USP), Honiara Campus.
Vice Chancellor of SINU, Dr. Glynn Galo welcomed the Parliamentary team, especially the Chairman of the EHRTC, Hon. Nestor Giro.
In his briefing, Hon, Giro conveyed to both tertiary institutions that purpose of the visit is to see what supporting these institutions are getting to provide educational here in the country.
The Committee Chairman also noted the challenges these institutions are facing. As part of the Committees mandate to make observations and investigation on matters of national education endeavor; this visit is part of the EHRTC Committees annual work plan and intention to produce a report to relevant stakeholders on these observations.
The Chairman highlighted that the Committee wishes to make tangible recommendations to the legislature on measures that can enhance their operations.
The Chairman acknowledged to both tertiary institutions that their issues are prevalent and is caused by many other factors besides socio-economical backgrounds of most of our students.
It was noted that providing local scholarships to students attending to both Institutions alone is not sufficient to substantiate their operations given the enrollment density each year.
Both Institution are enrolling 4000 plus student for this year alone and are expecting the numbers to increase in the years to come.
As such it is vital to the Committee to constructing such cordial relationship with our educational service providers can ensure that accountability and representation of the legislature is prudent.
At USP, Dr. Luke Mani; Supervising Acting Director of USP’s Honiara Campus welcomed the team and were showed around the campus.
The team accompanying the Chairman were; Marson Lilopeza (Director Committee Secretariat); Jasmine Waleafea (Committee Secretary – Secretary to EHRTC) and Joy Angi (Director Parliament Media).
WEDNESDAY 4 MAY 2016
Parliament is specially adjourned on Tuesday the 3rd of May 2016 to Tuesday the 17th of May 2016.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare moved a motion of special adjournment for the following reasons:
So far Parliament has passed 3 Bills. The Land Titles ( Amendment) Bill 2016, The Valuers ( Amendment ) Bill 2016, the Police and Transport Legislation ( Amendment )(Alcohol Testing) Bill 2016 and the Penal Code( Amendment)( Sexual Offences) Bill 2016.
The only two Bills remaining to deal with are the Anti Corruption Bill 2016 and the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill 2016.
These two Bills are delayed in Parliament due to pressure mounted on Government from members of Parliament not to support the Bills.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in a statement to clarify Government’s position on the two Bills said:
“Pressure is been mounted on our members of this side of the house – for us not to support these two Bills. Not only that, it gets more serious when there is intention to actually pull the government down because of these 2 Bills.”
However, he assured that Government is still committed to this policy eventually.
“But we feel that more work needs to be done, not necessarily on the content of the Bill, but, it’s on the understanding of this Bill and what it intends to do not only by Members of Parliament but also by Members of the public,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the Bills will be delayed and will remain in Parliament because it is already been submitted to Parliament.
WEDNESDAY 4TH MAY 2016
Parliament has passed the Penal Code (Amendment) (Sexual Offences) Bill 2016 on Tuesday the 3rd of may 2016.
The Bill amended the Penal Code in relation to Sexual Offences to provide greater protection against sexual violence and exploitation.
The Bill also introduced the following new offences:
The Bill is passed with no amendments.
TUESDAY 3RD MAY 2016
Parliament has passed the ‘Police and Transport Legislation (Amendment) (Alcohol Testing) Bill 2016’, on Monday the 2nd of May 2016.
The Bill was an Act to amend the Police Act 2013, the Civil Aviation Act 2008, the Road Transport Act (CAP.131) and the Shipping Act 1998 to provide for testing for blood alcohol content and related offences.
The Act allows police officers to stop drivers and require them to undergo a breath test using a prescribed device.
It creates offences for persons who drive or operate vehicles, vessels and aircraft with blood alcohol level of 50 milligrams or more per 100 millilitres of blood.
The Act amend section 179 of the Police Act 2013 by increasing the penalty for failing to provide a forensic sample from 5000 penalty points to 10,000 penalty points.
Section 179 of the Police Act 2013 is: Any person who -
a)Refuses to undergo a forensic procedure when lawfully obliged to do so under the provisions of this Act;
b)Knowingly provides a false sample, a contaminated sample or a sample obtained from another person or thing;
c)Obstructs, resists, hinders, use violence against, threatens or intimidates a person in connection with the carrying out of forensic procedures,
Commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a penalty of 5000 penalty units or six months imprisonment or both.
FRIDAY 29TH APRIL 2016
Parliament has passed the Valuers ( Amendment) Bill 2016 on Thursday the 28th of April 2016.
The Bill was an Act to amend the Valuers Act 2009.
a) Reform the membership of the Valuers Board,
The Valuers Act was enacted in 2009, to provide a statutory framework for the registration and licensing of valuers in Solomon Islands.
This was the first time in Solomon Islands that this profession was legally regulated.
FRIDAY 29TH APRIL 2016
Parliament has passed the Land Titles (Amendment) Bill 2016 on Wednesday the 27th of April 2016.
The Land Titles Bill was to amend the Land and Titles Act (Cap.133) to provide a right to resume certain fixed term estates.
It sought to amend the Land Titles Act (cap.133) by inserting a new section to allow the Land Board to resume for public purposes all or part of a fixed – term estate automatically created under section 100 of the Act, by:
The Act will become Law and be effective after it is being gazette.
MONDAY 25 APRIL 2016
The Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) has concluded hearing on the New Bills on Saturday 23rd April 2016 while Parliament is again specially adjourned to give time for government to settle certain national issues for the smooth operation of Parliament.
The Anti corruption Bill and the Whistle Blowers Bill were the last to be heard.
This means some Bills are now deem to go for the 2nd reading, committee stage and third reading in Parliament next week.
Meanwhile, Parliament is again specially adjourned today, Monday 25th April 2016 to Wednesday 27th April 2016.
Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare in moving the motion of special adjournment thanked the Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee for the progress of the Bills Hearing.
In his comments he explained that Parliament needs to adjourn to give time for other Bill reports to be prepared to be tabled and moved to second reading and the committee stage.
However, the other important matter for this special adjournment is: government needs to sit down and settle certain national issues that are affecting the smooth operation of Parliament.
“I believe there are certain national issues that affect the smooth and executive operation of this Parliament; that I believe the fifty members of Parliament, especially the government side need to sit down and look at before we continue with this meeting, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare explained.
Parliament will resume on Wednesday the 27th of April 2016.
MONDAY 18TH APRIL 2016
US Ambassador, Catherine Ebert-Gray who was recently confirmed as next Ambassador to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Republic of Vanuatu has made a courtesy call on the Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands on Friday 15th of April 2016
This was part of her visit to present her credentials to the Government of Solomon Islands.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Protocol Assistant, Miss Michelle Gerari of the Embassy of the United States of America in Port Moresby.
During the visit, she first met the Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare and Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Milner Tozaka.
Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Mr Ajilon. Jasper Nasiu when welcoming the Ambassador said, “We are forever grateful for the gift of this Parliament House from the US Government to the people of Solomon Islands, and only wish that the US Government could continue to do some more assistance on the same line.”
He said Solomon Island is a small Island state that is also going through so many difficulties like other small Island states.
However, Solomon Islands Parliament like any other Parliament is trying to fulfill its vision of achieving a Modern Parliament that fulfills its constitutional duties and effectively serves the people of Solomon Islands.
One of the areas the Speaker highlighted in its restructuring is Administrative autonomy. Another is the possibility of a new Electoral system to be used in the next General Elections, similar to the one Fiji is using.
He also highlighted the Civic Education and outreach programs which includes the gender programs run by the Young Women Parliamentary Group (YWPG).
The US Ambassador said she was impressed to see that Solomon Islands is seriously focusing on woman and violence which now sees the enforcement of the Family Protection Law.
She, however, said the USA has shifted its focus to human capacity building, especially in the areas of health, women, economic growth and climate change and adaptation.
But she has concern on the current issues that surrounds logging in the country and the current issue with Honiara’s Sea Port.
She said issues affecting Sea Ports are of great concern to any country because we all depend on a Port for living.
She continued to comment on the political groupings in Parliament and had expressed her interest in seeing a strong opposition and independent groups.
However, she said it’s a shame YWPG is doing great in terms of empowering young women for leadership positions but is not reflected in the representation in Parliament.
“Leadership and contributions of YWPG are admired but where they are in Parliament?” she asked.
The US Ambassador also asked about the proposed reserve seats for women in Parliament and has quoted Hillary Clinton on her saying that, “Women are the largest reservoir of talents,” therefore they must be considered when electing leaders into Parliament.
The Ambassador was greeted by the Speaker with a gift of shell money necklace.